A “cunning, clever-and sneaky” thief who loved the “cronchy” corn chips, he was targeted by the Mexican American Anti-Defamation Committee (MAADC).
Here’s the Frito Bandito in action:
The Slate notes read:
So, Frito Lay ordered a makeover. An ad firm was told to tidy up the Bandito, fix his teeth, and change his expression from sinister sneer to rascally grin. His guns were holstered, too, a response to the assassination of Robert Kennedy… But the MAADC was unmoved and prompted several television affiliates to ban the Bandito. In 1971, a House subcommittee made him the star of hearings about ethnic defamation on the airwaves. It wasn’t long before Frito Lay pulled the campaign.
The campaign against Frito Bandito is a nice example of how collective action can make a difference. I imagine, also, that the time period (the late ’60s/early ’70s) had something to do with MADDC’s quick success also.