Support for LAist comes from
Made of L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Ad Execs to Taco Bell: Yo Quiero $42 Million

Our June member drive is live: protect this resource!
Right now, we need your help during our short June member drive to keep the local news you read here every day going. This has been a challenging year, but with your help, we can get one step closer to closing our budget gap. Today, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership.

Remember those ads that ran between 1997-2000 featuring a sassy chihuahua who was crazy about Taco Bell? Turns out the Irvine-based company turned down a pitch made in the 1990s by Michigan ad men Joseph Shields and Tom Rinks for a "psycho chihuahua" but "later hired another ad agency that wound up using the talking animal in the now famous 'Yo quiero Taco Bell' ads," reports the OC Register.

In an attempt to pass the buck--and not to buy items off the dollar menu--Taco Bell put the onus on Los Angeles ad agency Chiat/Day, arguing that the firm "independently created the Chihuahua idea that was used in the Taco Bell commercials." A California appellate court ruled late this Friday that Taco Bell is in fact liable for the damages Shields and Rinks are seeking. Now they must pay $42 million to the Michigan advertising men.

Taco Bell spent a lot of money on the dog campaign--$510 million--but also made money selling "30 million toy Chihuahuas in its restaurants." The fast-food chain is now "reviewing [their] options," following the ruling, according to a spokesperson.

Most Read