In 1967, Frito-Lay Corporation launched a national advertising campaign featuring the Frito Bandito. Initially, the commercials appeared during children’s television shows, where they were an “unqualified success,” leading Frito-Lay to use the character in all its television and print advertising. In January 1971, a $610 million suit was filed against Frito-Lay in Federal court “for the malicious defamation of the character of the 6.1 million Mexican Americans in the United States.” Under increasing pressure as members of congress, local television stations, and the press joined the cause, Frito-Lay reluctantly dropped the Frito Bandito campaign. (From Chon A. Noriega’s article in The Tex-Mex Cookbook)
My daughter gave me a Frito Bandito T-shirt for Father’s Day. Do I put it in a display case–or do I wear it to my favorite Tex-Mex restaurant?