Humor is always a sure-fire to get any demographic in the door and Taco Bell has long figured that out since its groundbreaking 1997 commercial.
I was a mere two years old when Taco Bell decided that a talking Chihuahua (RIP Gidget) was the best way to get customers in the door. Another Chihuahua apparently catches the eye of our four-legged friend and he immediately makes his way down a busy street towards his future boo… only to walk right past the little lady and stride up to a man enjoying a crunchy taco from the Bell (that is what all the cool kids call it…right?). The man is a bit confused as to why a random dog just approached him, but he’s in absolute disbelief when the Chihuahua opens his little snout and calmly says, “Yo quiero Taco Bell.”
Yep. Taco Bell is so good that a dog learned human language just to express how bad he wanted Taco Bell. At least, that’s what Taco Bell wants you to think. And it worked.
It worked because the humor was not catered to one demographic. Adults could get a nice chuckle out of it. Kids peed their pants at the talking dog. The Spanish is simple enough to not alienate non-Spanish speakers and the context is clear enough even without the subtitles.
The ad in itself is pretty simple and the product it features, tacos, are a staple product in the company (Two tacos for 99 cents? I am adult-ing in the wrong decade.) Taco Bell clearly knew they had something special because they continued using the concept well into the early 2000s.
The new logo above was introduced in 1994. The logo has always carried the same concept albeit with a different color scheme: it is a bell. The bell sound is utilized in almost all its early commercials (not this one) and in its latest ads. It definitely is not as powerful as the McDonald's jingle in terms of its universal influence. But the logo stands out in a sea of red and white logos. That makes it memorable like this commercial.