Beer

Super Bowl Revival of Bud Light Pitchdog Spuds MacKenzie Prompts Death Threat

Anti-alcohol activists are haunted by the ghost of the original party animal.

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AB InBev

Long before Melissa McCarthy caused a stir by putting on a loose suit and a bad temper to impersonate White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, a female English bull terrier named Honey Tree Evil Eye drew cheers and catcalls by putting on a beach shirt and and a laid-back attitude to play Spuds MacKenzie, "the original party animal." On Sunday, three decades after the character's debut at the 1987 Super Bowl, AB InBev revived the Bud Light pitchdog for a Super Bowl spot in which he appears as an apparition, voiced by Carl Weathers, to teach an indolent young man the value of beer-enhanced conviviality. Alcohol Justice, formerly known as the Marin Institute, was not amused:

30 years after being deeply buried in the well-deserved grave of youth-attractive booze-pitching animal characters, the universally condemned Spuds McKenzie has returned. Like a Zombie in search of new and younger victims, the dog will be pitching beer to a global audience estimated to include 30 million impressionable children.

"The specter of a three-decade old, cuddly Spuds McKenzie—the sunglass-wearing, Joe Camel of Big Alcohol—pushing beer again is unacceptable," said Michael Scippa, Director of Public Affairs for Alcohol Justice. "Resurrecting this despicable icon of irresponsible alcohol marketing proves that breaking the toxic social norm that binds alcohol to sports must begin with creating a divide between sports and alcohol ads."…

"We call upon world leaders to recognize the public health and safety costs and eliminate alcohol advertising, sponsorships, branding and promotions from all sports," added Scippa. "And let's begin by driving a wooden stake through the heart of a zombie, beer-pushing, cartoonish character."

You might think a group that sees Spuds MacKenzie as the caninification of all that is evil about the alcohol industry would take the trouble to spell his name right. And since Joe Camel came after Spuds MacKenzie, wouldn't it be more accurate to say that Joe Camel was the Spuds MacKenzie of Big Tobacco? Be that as it may, Scippa is fostering a potentially life-threatening misconception by encouraging people to believe that a wooden stake through the heart will kill a zombie.

It may be a bit of an exaggeration to say Spuds was "universally condemned." I know that Strom Thurmond did not like him, and neither did the Center for Science in the Public Interest. But ancient teetotalers and busybody killjoys aside, there must have been some people who liked the TV spots featuring Spuds, which were breathlessly narrated by Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous host Robin Leach. The campaign was credited with helping boost sales of Bud Light by 20 percent between 1987 and 1988. I myself do not recall being offended by the ads, notwithstanding their allusions to bestiality, so much as annoyed by their ubiquity and their implication that there was anything enjoyable about drinking Bud Light, a blatant lie that may very well have led impressionable youth astray.

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  1. I never understood using a dog to sell bottled water.

    1. I think it’s a subtle hint as to what Bud Light is made from.

      1. Truth in advertising!

  2. the universally condemned Spuds McKenzie

    I think this may be the first time I have encountered anyone condemning Spuds MacKenzie.

    And the notion that young people need any enticement other than “it gets you drunk” to drink is pretty ridiculous.

    1. Did we have Bud posters that made us drink, or did we acquire the posters (which were free) because we already drank?

      1. Or was it the bikini girls and the funny dog on them? They could have been advertising Coca-cola (or shredded wheat) and been as entertaining.

        1. It was their perms.

    2. I seem to vaguely recall some minor pearl clutching at the time, but certainly nothing that would rise to the level of “universally condemned.” Maybe universally condemned in the circles that pearl clutching killjoy fuckwads like this Michael Scippa asshole travels in, but among normal people, not so much.

    3. My 16 year old son went directly out and bought a 6 pack of bud light after watching that commercial.

      1. Just kidding – we live in Minnesota, where God and Andrew Volstead are in league with one another to deprive us of alcohol every seven days.

        1. That’s what Hudson, Wisconsin is for!

  3. I believe the water was adulterated with ethyl alcohol and the dog was surrounded by bikini babes.

  4. Alcohol Justice is one of the Buck Trust entities, which has an interesting backstory in of itself.

    1. If it’s stupid, chances are it’s HQ is in Marin or S.F.

    2. I saw Alcohol Justice (AJ for those in the know) open for The Melvins in ought-three.

  5. Geez, Reason, if you’re gonna go the clickbait route, at least be accurate. A busybody watchdog group calling for a stake to be driven through the heart of a fictional character – a ghost one, even – doesn’t really constitute a “death threat”.

    1. Yes it’s instigation for other people to commit murder, not a threat to do it oneself.

      1. I failed to see in the article where Alcohol Justice explicitly called for real-life human beings to be killed, by themselves or anyone else. All I saw is a wooden stake through the heart of a ghost dog, which isn’t really feasible in the first place.

        1. First of all, an anthromorphized ghost dog. Second, what matters is whether the instigator believes his instigation will lead to the death of the ghost dog. And third, are you trying to suggest the vaule of a ghost dog’s uh “life” is less than a human’s?

    2. A “watchdog” group that is actually watching a dog.

    3. Ya dang morons,he’s saying ya cant kill zombies with wood. If you tried that it would be a threat to your life cuz they would eat yer brain.

    4. THAT’S THE JOKE.

  6. OH MY GOD ANOTHER ARTICLE BY REASON BASHING TRUMP AND IGNORING THE TERRIST ATTACKS ALL AROUND US

    1. It’s already February and you haven’t killed yourself.

  7. I remember liking Spuds MacKenzie. But holy shit I didn’t remember that the ads were that stupid.

    1. It was the 80s. Everything about it was worse than we remember. That is how healing occurs, taking the edge off the worst moments in memory.

      1. Exactly. Try watching an episode of Knight Ryder.

        Although, I’ve been watching episodes of Simon and Simon and I think they’ve (mostly) held up pretty well. The same goes for Magnum P.I.

          1. +1 Magnum
            +1 Archer

            1. That was such a shocking moment for early 80s TV.

              1. Yeah, that was some very real shit for that time. Magnum had a few very dark and serious episodes.

                1. Yeah, they’d run their usual light comedy/drama, then, one day, T.C. is a pre-programmed assassin.

                  1. Didn’t they have a few episodes where they would flashback to some nasty shit one of them had gone though in ‘Nam?

                    1. Sure. The bad-ass episodes.

                2. +1 Frank Sinatra hunting child molesters to “Tonight Tonight”

            2. Asshole killed Mac.

              He had it coming.

        1. Magnum is a great show that I can watch anytime. And the wife is always happy to watch it with me so she can ogle young Tom Selleck in his shorty shorts.

        2. Knight Rider and Airwolf were two shows that I loved when I was 10 but are just… horrible now. Completely unwatchable shit. Put The A-Team in the category too.

          1. Good thing you can’t find old episodes of BJ and the Bear!

        3. Knight Ryder.

          It’s FUCKING Knight Rider you Eightiesphobe!

      2. I was into hair metal back then, and when I listen to it now, it seems pretty terrible. (There are some notable exceptions though.)

        1. I have been listening to a lot of early 80s straight forward rock recently. Foreigner especially.

          I don’t know why, it just wasn’t trying too hard. Or maybe nostalgia.

          1. I guess late 70s to early 80s for them.

        2. There are some notable exceptions though

          I agree, although we might not have the same exceptions. I think RATT was a cut above the rest, for instance.

          1. RATT-N-ROLL!!!!!!

          2. Meh, I think Cinderella edges out Ratt.

            1. Cinderella is another one! I give them credit for seeing the writing on the wall before the rest of them. By their 2nd album, they were already moving away from hair metal and to something more roots based. Although, ‘Don’t Know what You’ve Got’ is a pretty typical terrible 80s power ballad. ‘Gypsy Road’ is cool.

          3. Yeah, I loved Ratt. Dokken had some pretty good guitar.

            There were so many others I loved at the time: Scorpions, Cinderella, Skid Row, Motley Crue, Warrant, White Snake… others I’m sure.

            But only one truly holds up today in my opinion: Metallica. Three genius albums in the 80s, true masterpieces.

            1. Megadeth remains awesome.

              1. For some reason, I missed out on Megadeth. I knew they were good.

                http://loudwire.com/dave-musta…..niversary/

            2. Wouldn’t Metallica be considered more thrash metal as opposed to hair metal though? I know the lines between the various metal sub-genres can be a bit blurry, but to me they have a distinctly different kind of sound compared to those others you listed.

              1. Yep. Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer. The Four Horsemen of thrash metal.

            3. I still love Metallica, but I never considered them hair metal.

              1. Y’all are right – Metallica is not hair metal. But they toured with hair metal bands at the time. BTW, Metallica just released a new album and I think it’s shit. So there’s that.

            4. No Springsteen? Michael Jackson? Madonna?

      3. It was the 80s. Everything about it was worse than we remember. That is how healing occurs, taking the edge off the worst moments in memory.

        That said, I feel like the most recent Spuds MacKenzie ad, while good, indicates the progress of beer commercial technology has definitely slowed if not halted. The beer has been effectively fruited .

    2. To be fair, it was the eighties. We were all lightheaded from tight vinyl, hair spray fumes, and cocaine.

  8. Whimmy wham wham wazzle.

    1. You laugh, but that is where we are headed without stronger food ingredient regulations.

  9. But what about Alex? Or Tone L?c for that matter?

  10. “Resurrecting this despicable icon of irresponsible alcohol marketing…”

    These kinds of over-the-top, adjective-laden statements just make me laugh.

  11. Had a digital illustration class and I said that you can’t go wrong featuring a dog or cat in a piece.

    A class favorite used as an example by the teacher showed a dog and cat dancing with each other – it was borderline infantile.

    My classmates warmed up to me when I showed them my cover of a doggie catching a frisbee and a blonde hugging a big doggie.

  12. Jesus fucking Christ…moar victimhood.

    Just how much of an asshole does one have to be for this to be your shtick?

    Fuck off and die in a fire. I’m glad you’re incensed.

    1. Although doesn’t this same commercial suggest that, if they DO die in a fire, they’ll merely come back as ghosts in thirty years to start bitching at us again?

  13. Show up at my party with Bud Light, and I may let you in, but the beer is staying on the porch. I’ll probably use it to water the plants or something.

    1. I think you are taking the wrong approach. As long as you don’t show up with Bud Light and then drink my beer, it’s all good. You want to make sure your guest drinks the crappy beer he came with.

  14. Alcohol Justice is a massively endowed temperance-oriented organization that has picked up the anti-alcohol banner previously carried by earlier temperance groups. It is even recognized for its activities by the Prohibition Party. Yes, the Prohibition Party still exists and has thousands of members and millions of supporters.

    Alcohol Justice is funded by the Buck Trust, whose founders directed that its resources be used exclusively for the good of the people of Marin County, California. In spite of that mandate, Alcohol Justice now engages in nation-wide temperance activities. The Buck Trust assets are reported to be about one billion dollars.

    In addition, Alcohol Justice has received many millions of dollars of taxpayer’s money at both state and federal levels. Millions of that have been channeled through the federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, a very controversial agency.

    Your tax dollars at work – this is one of those groups like Planned Parenthood or the Sierra Club whose “outreach and educational” work includes paying people to march around with signs protesting the policies of the current administration. Of course, the receipt of federal funds and federal tax-exempt status prohibits them from engaging in political campaigning so their opposition to the policies of the current administration are only coincidentally opposition to Trump.

  15. Spuds McKenzie caused me to drink too much bud light which caused me to murder my entire family which caused me to successfully commit suicide… true story

  16. Be that as it may, Scippa is fostering a potentially life-threatening misconception by encouraging people to believe that a wooden stake through the heart will kill a zombie.”

    Especially when the zombie is clearly a ghost.

    1. Maybe it’s the ghost of a zombie. Whoaaaa…..

      1. The only way to kill a zombie ghost is to pour sunlight on it. Ghost zombies, on the other hand, may just need the stake through the heart.

        1. You can’t secure a stake in a ghost! It’s a ghost!

    2. It is a terrible thing to mix up your basic undead classifications, but where are they going to get proton packs from?

  17. Whaaaaaaasssuuuuuuuuuuupp

    1. Wazzzuuuuppppppppppp!!!!

    2. Wazzzuuuuppppppppppp!!!!

      1. Squirrelz also say Wazzzzuuuupppppppppppp!!!!

        1. Chhhhizzzzzzzzzzzzziiiiirrrrrrrpppppp!!!!

  18. IT’S NOT A FEDORA, IT’S A FUCKING TRILBY. A SHITTY, SAD TRILBY!

    1. I thought it was a pork pie.

      1. The line between trilbies and fedoras can be hard to discern, but porkpies look nothing like either. They are those inexpensive, informal, soft, flat top numbers. I think Malcolm’s dad wears one on Breaking Bad, though I could be wrong.

    2. Does anybody but cardinals actually wear fedoras anymore? I feel like people wear trilbies and people call them fedoras. Matter of fact, I think we passed peak trilby about ten years ago. I feel like there is some unspoken joke about fedoras or something in what remains today of shared pop culture that I am not in on or something.

      1. I remember trying to find a fedora for a last minute 1940’s murder mystery party costume a few years back and being SO MAD that the stores only had trilbies.

    3. Any of those hats that isn’t a Homburg is just wasting its time. Although the Orvis Packable Felt Hat is acceptable in winter for keeping your head warm casually.

  19. When I was a freshman in college in 1987, I remember buying cases of a beer called “Red White and Blue” for something like 4 bucks. It did the job.

    1. It was cheaper than Ex-Lax?

      1. Really, were you drinking high-quality beer at college age?

        1. The blackouts prevent me from answering honestly.

          1. Indeed. Ye gods, did I drink some horrific beers.

            1. Billy Beer was original created (it was made by a number of breweries) in my hometown.

              Check and mate on horrific beers.

              1. Three words: Mickey’s Big Mouth

            2. One of our favorites was generic. As in “BEER”. Brown bottle, white label, black uppercase letters. “BEER”.

              We didn’t call it beer, because that’s not what it tasted like.
              “Want another soap?”
              “Sure, hit me.”

              When we realized it was more expensive than Blatz, we moved to that.

        2. I wasn’t drinking beer at all.

          Late 80s in Georgia, there wasn’t anything I liked.

          I didnt discover good beer until I moved to Switzerland in 1991 and then Wisconsin in 1992.

        3. I was for a while. I thought that if I paid more for better quality, I would drink less. Took me about a month to learn otherwise.

        4. *flashes back to college* Keystone Light… *shudders*

    2. Red White and Blue was $2.15 a six pack at a bar in 1984.

      1. Old College Inn in Gainesville used to have $1.75 pitchers of Rolling Rock, circa 1981-82.

    3. Yes, Red White and Blue was the knockoff Pabst, because PBR was just a bit too upscale for some people.

      I can remember buying generic beer at Ralph’s in college. Plain white can with blue letters saying BEER.

      1. +1 generic

    4. Yes, Red White and Blue was prevalent in the late 80s in rural Minnesota. By the early 90s I discovered Rhinelander. The best of the bunch, in my opinion, was Special Export, although I am not even sure if they exported it, and where it was exported to.

      1. LOL. Special Export was “exported” from La Crosse over the river into Minnehaha.

        In return, y’all gave us Grain Belt and Pig’s Eye.

    5. Four bucks? You got ripped off.

    6. Four bucks? You got ripped off.

  20. Spuds helped in the late 80s because there was nothing else to drink but macrobrews. The craft beer industry has happened since then.

    Nothing the big guys can do about increasing the sale of their rice and corn beers. They’re just competing against each other for a dwindling number of core customers.

    1. Nothing the big guys can do about increasing the sale of their rice and corn beers.

      Yup, they might not get the kids but they will get the over 45s who have fond memories of high school parties and are worried about their beer guts, so switching to light beer makes sense for them.

    1. If you’re out of that, you can always slurp down a Griesedieck.

  21. Yea we used to get no name beer it was just a white or yellow box with “BEER” printed on the side, it was beerlike and cheap. Spuds made me alcoholic my ass. The addiction recovery/prevention industry has played a huge role in the “it’s not my fault” attitude.

    1. This is how bad it gets. I once could tell you who the brewer was of the local distributor’s (Maris) generic beer was.

    2. The addiction recovery/prevention industry has played a huge role in the “it’s not my fault” attitude.

      Also to blame: Will Hunting.

    1. Milwaukee’s Beast was my college cheap beer of choice. $4.19 for a twelve-pack, or $8.39 per case. I’d get two twelve-packs, and congratulate myself for saving a penny.

      College students in general want their alcohol cheap and plentiful. Fratdaddies buying cases of Andre (for “mimosas”) and Popov, and sorority chicks driving their Audi to one of my stores to get a bottle of Barefoot moscato are the bane of my existance one of the small annoyances in life.

      1. I want my tequila from Mexico, my whiskey from Canada, and my vodka from Russia. If the bottle of vodka doesn’t have a picture of the Kremlin on it, its not vodka.

        All the girls I went to college with drank boones farm. Barefoot moscato?? No wonder the world is going in the toilet.

  22. Mark Green, the left-wing Naderite who was New York City’s “Consumer Advocate” in the early 1990s, fought a veritable jihad against poor Spuds, and was instrumental in having the ads pulled. He claimed that it was advertising “aimed at children” and would encourage underage drinking.

  23. The history of Pabst is interesting.

    They were owned by or owned just about every major regional player in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

      1. Fuck that shit. Pabst Blue Ribbon.

    1. Also fun beer history.

      There was a moment in the 70s where the best selling beer in Evansville was Falls City out of Louisville. At the same time, the best selling beer in Louisville was Sterling out of Evansville.

      1. Other trivia: the Maris Distributing I mentioned above was owned by, yes, that Roger Maris. How he ended up in Hogtown, I do not know.

        1. In addition to Billy Beer, Falls City was also responsible for the EZ Tab to replace the Pop Top.

          Saving numerous flip flops owned by Jimmy Buffett.

  24. This country seriously needs a Bobbitize a Busybody Act. Get caught with your nose in somebody else’s business and Whack! Off with your weenie!

    1. Just swap all the busybodies with the Syrian refugees-the busybodies will feel right at home with ISIS.

  25. Spuds is one of the reasons I started drinking. Not the commercials, the actual dog. We had some mutual friends and I met him at a party in Dallas in ’91. He handed me a Shiner. He was past the fame thing at that point but was still pretty cool about people wanting autographs. Very down to earth. Died just a couple years later I think.

  26. I was in high school when Spuds was pitching his piss. Never was tempted to try it because that was the first thing I thought of. I some adds for Busch beer too which I thought was long dead and gone since 1990 at least. Seems that AB is trying to hook a generation of kids on shitty beer, if you want to call it that-they need to pay for their crime damnit!

  27. Lousy commercial. Recycling 30 year old ideas. Pathetic. Most of the ads this year were forgettable.

  28. “The specter of a three-decade old, cuddly Spuds McKenzie?the sunglass-wearing, Joe Camel of Big Alcohol?pushing beer again is unacceptable,” said Michael Scippa, Director of Public Affairs for Alcohol Justice. “Resurrecting this despicable icon of irresponsible alcohol marketing proves that breaking the toxic social norm that binds alcohol to sports must begin with creating a divide between sports and alcohol ads.”…

    Someone get this fuckwit some pearls to clutch, quick. FFS.

    “We call upon world leaders to recognize the public health and safety costs and eliminate alcohol advertising, sponsorships, branding and promotions from all sports,” added Scippa.

    Of course the dipshit includes a call for “world leaders” to “DO SOMETHING.” Fuck off, saver.

    I know that Strom Thurmond did not like him

    That’s a ringing endorsement as far as I’m concerned. Anything that old klansman fuck didn’t like can’t be bad.

    1. Being attacked by the Center for Science in the Public Interest is also a plus, since I don’t think they’d recognize science or the public interest if either one walked up and bit them in the ass.

  29. I liked the Spuds commercials when I was a kid because my uncle had a bull terrier that looked just like him.

  30. A name like Alcohol Justice called to mind a group dedicated to freeing booze from state distribution monopolies. I have been deceived.

    1. Yeah! You should start something called Justice for Alcohol. It’d be fun to create mock versions of everything Alcohol Justice does, but with the opposite message and a bit of serious commentary about the free market under the biting humor.

      1. “Libation Liberation”

    2. That, or a group of drunken vigilantes.

  31. I very, very, highly doubt the new Spuds commercials are aimed at anyone younger than 45. This isn’t about capturing the youth market, which I’m pretty sure would find the talking ghost dog creepy, if anything. Hell, the premise of the commercial even seems to be about a guy who no longer hangs out. This is a nostalgia bid. Anyone should be able to figure that out, unless they’re being less than sincere.

    1. Anyone should be able to figure that out, unless they’re being less than sincere.

      Or just plain stupid. Or both… actually I’m gonna go with “both,” final answer.

  32. I saw a Spuds McKenzie commercial when I was 10, drank 3 alcohols and died. True story.

  33. If Budweisers promotions were being run by a cabal of their worst enemies, how could you tell the difference.

    Makes me wish I drank beer so I could boycott them.

  34. So… we get this shock and horror over the idea that an ad might be inducing people to drink alcohol with the possible secondary purpose of getting drunk.

    Yet I’m driving through town and looking at billboards which explicitly indicate that the purpose of legal weed is to get blasted.

    Imagine an Absolut ad whose entire pitch was to tell you how fucked up you can get.

    Strange days.

  35. “You might think a group that sees Spuds MacKenzie as the caninification of all that is evil about the alcohol industry would take the trouble to spell his name right. And since Joe Camel came after Spuds MacKenzie, wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that Joe Camel was the Spuds MacKenzie of Big Tobacco? Be that as it may, Scippa is fostering a potentially life-threatening misconception by encouraging people to believe that a wooden stake through the heart will kill a zombie.”

    Watch Jacob Sullum TOTALLY DESTROY a prohibitionist…click here for more…

  36. All them bull terriers is dangerous, I tells ya.

    Just look at what Petey did to Alfalfa and Buckwheat!

  37. We call upon world leaders to recognize the public health and safety costs and eliminate alcohol advertising, sponsorships, branding and promotions from all sports

    We all know that politicians should never be called “leaders”. So maybe these guys are talking about other “world leaders”, like maybe the people in charge of beer manufacturers, or super-duper athletes. In which case their message doesn’t bother me much.

  38. Multicultural too. Even in the 80’s
    Go Spuds!!!

  39. Also, prohibitionist argument similar to apple flavored vaping.

    Some of us like non-classic flavors, even if we are not in our teens or twenties.

    …and I don’t even vape.

  40. Long before Melissa McCarthy caused a stir by putting on a loose suit and a bad temper to impersonate White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, a female English bull terrier named Honey Tree Evil Eye drew cheers and catcalls by putting on a beach shirt and and a laid-back attitude to play Spuds MacKenzie,

    What the fuck is this tangential bullshit? One has little to do with the other, unless you’re trying to out-Soave the Hair.

    The double “and” is a nice touch, Sullum.

  41. The dog made me drink that shitty beer!

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