This Is What Really Happened To The Taco Bell Chihuahua

Gidget the dog had acting chops to rival many of Hollywood's finest. After all, it takes a lot of talent for a 12-pound, female chihuahua to convince legions of people around the world that she's actually a teenage boy trapped in a dog's body, per Wide Open Pets. But convince them she did, and the legacy of this adorable pooch is history.

From 1997 to 2000, Gidget starred in what was arguably Taco Bell's most iconic advertising campaign as the "Yo Quiero Taco Bell" dog. If you're not fluent in Spanish, that means "I want Taco Bell." Of course, the meaning was obvious in the ads, as Gidget often stared longingly at an assortment of Taco Bell items, typically being enjoyed by human counterparts.

Although Gidget was talented to the nth degree, she obviously couldn't talk, so the catchphrase heard round the world was actually uttered by voice actor Carlos Alazraqui. But for all of Gidget's adorableness, her career was nonetheless full of turmoil.

Controversy surrounded the Taco Bell campaign

The Taco Bell campaign, although massively popular and effective at increasing the chain's brand recognition, was not well-received in some circles. Latino groups took major offense to the commercials, which they deemed "ethnically offensive," per Los Angeles Times. "To equate a dog with an entire ethnic population is outrageous, despicable, demeaning and degrading," lamented Mario Obledo, president of California Coalition of Hispanic Organizations in 1998.

Another key problem with the campaign was that although some consumers found it funny, it did not make them hungry for the chain restaurant's food offerings, explains Better Marketing. As a result, sales went down, even though brand recognition was up, up, up. Due to these and other factors, the campaign was pulled from rotation in 2000, and the CEO even got fired as a result.

Still, Gidget made the best of her notoriety, and eventually went on to become a spokesdog for Geico insurance, and also starred as Bruiser Woods' mother in the hit film, "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, & Blonde." According to People, she died in 2009 at age 15 following a stroke at her California home. RIP, sweet Gidget!