The Frito Bandito

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?

7 thoughts on “The Frito Bandito

  1. Frank M

    I’d get another one, so you can wear it often, without wearing it out!

  2. Family6Guy

    Glad i ran across this website.Added “The Frito Bandito Robb Walsh :: Texas Eats” to my bookmark!

  3. Jose Lencioni

    I think you’re so far removed from the suit in the 70’s to where its will now be seen as a harmless piece of nostalgia.

  4. jim sherman

    I’m reminded of my co-worker Miguel who was baffled over the flap over the Taco Bell Chihuahua ads. He thought they were pretty cool because they got his (5th or 6th generation) kids to speaking Spanish for a change.

    I suspect that Mexicans, like most other minority groups, have a small but very vocal sub-minority of the perinnially outraged and offended who make a career out of finding things to be offended over, especially if it gets them on the news. Some ethnic humor is brutal and offensive to anyone with any intelligence; some of it is pretty damn funny. I’ve got some great Polish and Italian jokes that I heard years ago from kielbasa-munching and noodle-chomping friends.

  5. Albert Lary

    Thank you so much, this was a good read. I was actually born in Madrid (I’m not telling what year though!) but moved around europe and lastly settled in the UK when I was 5. I dont remember much of the few years I was in spain, but the smell of spanish food always seems to get me going or something. It’s weird how I dont remember anything except the smells,isn’t it! I actually found a internet site dedicated to spanish recipes, which gave me great delight and thought I ought to share with your readers. Anyway, thank you again. I’ll get my husband to add your cast to my rss thing…

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