The fall of the Taco Bell Chihuahua

By Tricia Johnson
Updated August 04, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

FALLING STAR Taco Bell Chihuahua (real name: Gidget)

CAREER PINNACLE The pint-size pooch, who debuted in ’97, made Americans sit up in their La-Z-Boys with such catchphrases as ”Drop the chalupa” and the classic ”Yo quiero Taco Bell.”

LATEST HURDLE Losing the gig as Taco Bell’s primary barker.

PERCEIVED PROBLEM ”Sales are down,” says Taco Bell’s spokeswoman Laurie Gannon, prompting the chain to say adios to ad agency TBWA/Chiat/Day and hire rival Foote, Cone & Belding.

ADVICE Comic Carlos Alazraqui, who voices Gidget, says go for Willy the Whale-size stardom: ”Like all actors, she should try to get a movie role that proves her range — 102 Dalmatians or something.” Meanwhile, Star-Kist’s newly svelte Charlie the Tuna, back on TV after a 10-year hiatus, offers some hard-won advice: ”It’s a dog-eat-dog business, and you can never be too thin. Maybe she should eat fewer tacos.”