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Sit, Stay, Buy Chihuahua Toy, Taco Bell Hopes

November 12, 1998|Greg Johnson

Irvine-based Taco Bell Corp., which has used its quirky talking Chihuahua advertising campaign to spur recent quarterly sales increases, will begin selling plush Chihuahua toys in its restaurants. The 6-inch stuffed animals--which bark familiar Taco Bell advertising phrases such as "Yo quiero Taco Bell" when their stomachs are squeezed--will be sold for between $2.99 and $3.99. Taco Bell, which earlier licensed the popular image for retail products ranging from pens to plush toys to T-shirts, also is considering additional licensing opportunities. "We're going to think long and hard about what categories to enter because the key is to preserve the power of the marketing icon," spokesman Peter Stack said. "We want to ensure that the advertising remains the primary focus." Industry observers say the promotion is different in that most in-store promotions, such as the "Star Wars" characters, are generated by Hollywood movies.

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