Taco Bell Denies Copying Dog Design's Likeness

Taco Bell Corp. dismissed an allegation that its successful "Chihuahua" commercials were derivative of a cartoon-like dog created by Wrench Inc., a two-man, Michigan-based design firm. Wrench co-owner Tom Rinks maintains that the Irvine-based fast-food chain used his company's Chihuahua as the model for the current Taco Bell commercials. Taco Bell acknowledges that its executives talked to Rinks about a possible licensing deal but says the Chihuahua with a taste for Mexican-style fast food was developed solely by TBWA Chiat/Day. The ad agency says that its creative staff decided to use a Chihuahua in Taco Bell commercials after seeing a dog on the boardwalk near its Venice Beach office.

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