Another Sign that the EOTWAWKI is happening now AKA (Taco Bell Throwing It's Little Four Footed Money Machine Out Into The Unemployment Line Without So Much As A Thankyou) : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Spare Change for Fido?

No Mas for Chalupa Dog

July 20, 2000 

Looks like the smooth-talking chalupa-obsessed Taco Bell Chihuahua might be changing his tagline from "Yo quiero Taco Bell" to "Yo quiero a new job."

The diminutive doggy, arguably TV's most popular pooch, is being sent to the advertising equivalent of the pound, with the announcement this week that the fast-food chain is preparing to launch a new, likely canine-free ad campaign.

Tricon Global Restaurants, parent company of Taco Bell as well as KFC and Pizza Hut is saying hasta la vista to the agency behind the "Yo quiero Taco Bell" ads, reassigning its $200 million ad account from TBWA/Chiat/Day to Foote, Cone & Belding.

"The underlying consumer dynamics of the Taco Bell brand are solid," reads a statement from Tricon CEO David Novak. "We are bringing fresh, new thinking to the brand to better leverage Taco Bell's unique market strengths and will continue to invest in the brand to make this happen."

While admitting that consumers love the Chihuahua almost as much as the dog digs gorditas, enchiritos and other Taco Bell treats, Novak says the dog will have a minimal role at best in future ads.

Analysts now say the Chihuahua icon has most likely seen the last of its dog days since new ad agencies usually chuck inherited ad campaigns to start fresh on their own.

"What Taco Bell needs to emphasize is the quality of its food," says Jack Foyer, media editor at Ad Week. "The efficacy of a dog spokescreature was beginning to wane. The dog hasn't even been featured entirely in recent commercials."

It's been an extremely difficult quarter for Taco Bell. The chain saw a major dip in growth and is hoping a new marketing strategy will boost sagging sales. Aside from canning the canine, the company also axed the chain's president and replaced him with a former Wendy's executive.

Fan reaction to the nameless Chihuahua's pending retirement has been mixed. Some who loved the commercials say Taco Bell shouldn't ditch the dog because it's "only gonna hurt their business." While others hope the Taco Bell dog collectibles they've picked up over the last three years will someday increase in value.

"I think that dog is so adorable...I was pretty surprised that they would drop the dog from their campaign ads," write one fan on

Another counters: "I actually think the dog is pretty cute, but the voice that they gave her is annoying. That's why I was glad that they are getting rid of the dog."

Foyer says the fact that people are talking about it means the ads worked. "Once ad icons become pop culture, then we own them and not the company that created them," he says.

Foyer says the beloved Chihuahua now joins a menagerie of ad critters that includes such stalwarts as Tony the Tiger, Smokey the Bear and Morris the Cat.

-- Slashy J (poor@dude.blues), July 22, 2000

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