Does the Taco Bell Toll for the Chihuahua?

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Does the Humane Society have to be present when an animal is fired? Taco Bell may want to look into that possibility; the fast-Mex chain's brass have reportedly all but canned the company's Chihuahua ad spots, made famous by L.A. ad giants TBWA/Chiat/Day. The tiny talking dog, who wandered the streets in search of Taco Bell's wares, urging startled customers to drop their chalupas, garnered enormous public attention but failed to send the requisite throngs rushing to their local franchise.

And it's about time they dropped the campaign. It's never been made clear why Taco Bell drafted this particular dog in the first place; aside from obvious geographical connotations, he never seemed especially well suited to shill for a fast-food restaurant. The dog may have been linguistically gifted (bilingual, at that), but he always looked markedly undernourished — inviting unwelcome assumptions about the nutritious value of Taco Bell's fare.

Perhaps TB's new ad agency (San Francisco-based Foote Cone Belding) will learn from the Chihuahua's demise and present the company with a hardier-looking spokesperson for their next campaign. And McDonald's human resources department has made it very clear that Grimace is looking for work.