Gidget, the lovable mascot for many years of Taco Bell has died of a stroke at the age of 15 in Los Angeles. According to her trainer, Sue Chipperton, what made Gidget such an exceptional dog was that she "always knew where the camera was" and seemed to really her work. She was an exceptional professional animal.
Gidget had starred in numerous TV commercials and other advertising. Taco Bell decided to retire her campaign about five years ago, in favor of different spots as the dog aged. At one point some false rumors emerged that Gidget had died, however she enjoyed a good five year retirement. It was also possible that Taco Bell might have decided to end the ad campaign using Gidget because while the ads were very popular and cute, they might have accidentally have been interpreted as involved in some stereotypes about those in the Latin culture, and Taco Bell might have been very concerned about that aspect. Taco Bell didn't want any fun ads to cross the line of good taste, and might have decided the age of the dog was good enough reason to move on with different ads.
Gidget was used in one Northeastern ad by Taco Bell in September 1997. Soon, because the response was so strong, she began to appear in ads all across the nation run by Taco Bell. However, the concept of using a Chihuahua in Taco Bell ads was first pitched to the company six years earlier according to a lawsuit filed against the company by a plaintiff, who eventually won a total judgment of around $42 million in damages. So while the use of the small Mexican dog did bring Taco Bell a great deal of good publicity, it also attracted a huge lawsuit, so the use of Gidget turned out to be a mixed blessing in many ways.
Regardless, Gidget was very popular and well loved. And many toys of her image remain as collectables today. She will be missed.