Some rumours were that Taco Bell stopped using the dog as a mascot in 2000 because it had died-this was untrue. There were a total of three chihuahuas that played the role. Most of the time, however, it was the one named, 'Gidget,' that you saw in all of those ads.
The year was 1998. Bill Clinton was playing saxophone in the White House while the Republicans were trying to impeach him over the whole Monica Lewinsky thing, people were crying to the chart topper, 'My Heart Will Go On,' by Celine Dion, and everyone in America who owned a TV became very familiar with a tiny taco promoting hound.
Gidget, who often wore a sombrero, spoke with a Mexican accent. His cuteness led him to become a pop icon. There is speculation that his cancellation was the result of political correctness as some Latin Americans didn't like his depiction. However, while Gidget was an immensely popular marketing ploy, Taco Bell did not see any increase in sales and ended the campaign in 2000.
The little advertising dynamo died of a stroke on July 21, 2009. He was 15.
Commercial advertising is often a funny endeavor as established brands, with a lot of money to spend, try to gain even more market recognition. Many mascots they invent aren't as renowned as the taco-loving chihuahua. Here's a list from Wikipedia: See if you recognize any...