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Ad Execs to Taco Bell: Yo Quiero $42 Million

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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.