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Dog Memory Lane
The original party animal, he made his debut in a Bud Light beer commercial during the Super Bowl in 1987.
Time for the Daily Drink to pay homage to a hero, patriot and Bull Terrier all rolled in one. It was 18 years ago , we lost one of the legends in the world of drinking and mascots, Spuds MacKenzie.
The original party animal, he made his debut in a Bud Light beer commercial during the Super Bowl in 1987. Spuds, who was also a senior party consultant for the Anheuser-Busch Company, had a black circle around one eye. He became a hit almost overnight. Spuds was water skiing, skateboarding, lounging by a pool with beautiful women or something else equally glamorous.His likeness appeared on T-shirts, sweaters, mugs, posters and stuffed animals, outdoing other popular characters of the time, including ALF and Max Headroom.
It was the late 1980′s and Bud Light was looking for a way to get a leg up in the beer wars, or as it turned out, a paw up on the competition. A commercial premiered on the highly coveted and very expensive Super Bowl. Out waddled a little white dog flanked by three beautiful models. Within a few weeks he became the life of the party. Bud Light struck advertising lightning.
Spuds MacKenzie appeared in dozens of TV commercials for Bud Light. It seemed this party animal could do just about anything. He was an ice hockey goalie, submarine-driving-conga-line-dancer, a bow tie tuxedo wearing piano player, an Olympic pole vaulter. and even got a turn on ‘Lifestyles of the Original Party Animal” with TV great Robin Leach. This dog seemed unstoppable with the ladies and he was a responsible party guy with many commercials noting Spuds knows “when to say when.”
In the 80′s it seemed you couldn’t walk ten feet without seeing something with Spuds MacKenzie on it. There were t-shirts, bath towels,dog statues and stuffed versions of the cute pup. Tone Loc immortalized Spuds and Alex from Stroh’s in his anthem Funky Cold Medina (1:52 in) and Spuds was even mentioned in a Golden Girls episode. A quick search of eBay returns close to 100 items related to Spuds. Pretty impressive considering that his face hasn’t been on TV in years.
But with every media giant there must always be a scandal. He was a she! Spuds MacKenzie’s real name was Honey Tree Evil Eye, a female Bull Terrier. This really isn’t a shocker in Hollywood considering female dogs portrayed the likes of male roles.
Media watch groups and parents were not happy with their ten year olds wearing Spuds t-shirts. In 1992 Mothers Against Drunk Drivers alleged that the Anheuser-Busch company was using the dog’s image to market beer to young children. The statements were never proven, but the company decided to stop running the ads anyway. In truth it appeared that after a 10-year run, Spud’s time in the spotlight was over.
Honey Tree Evil Eye died of kidney failure on May 31, 1993. That may be your name, but you will always be known to us as Spuds MacKenzie. Rest in peace little buddy.
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