Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Way Back WhensDay: Spuds MacKenzie

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

In the 80's there was a party animal, and his name was Spuds MacKenzie.  The Bull Terrier became a part of the marketing of Bud Light.  Anheuser-Busch introduced the world to Spuds during the SuperBowl in 1987.

I still have my stuffed Spuds
Depending on your perspective, I guess you could say the dog was being used to market alcohol to kids.  After all, there was a line of plush toys and tshirts in children's size saturating the market.  I should know, I bought a stuffed Spuds on a trip to Busch Gardens back in December 1987.  I was a teenager at the time, and had no interest in drinking the beer the pooch was selling.  I just liked the character.  I never once felt compelled to buy or even try alcohol, just as Camel Joe never inspired me to smoke, but that's a subject for another day.

My wardrobe that year was composed of several Spuds MacKenzie tshirts too.  My grandfather worked for AB and although retired from the company, still received a discount on merchandise.  When a seasonal catalog was released, I'd take the opportunity to add a tee to my collection.  I also had a variety of neon colored sun glasses, the AB swim suit and matching flip flops.  Hard to believe I didn't have a girlfriend back then, right?

Who had a shirt?
Eventually the public pressure to end the ad campaign got to AB and Spuds was sent into retirement.  It didn't stop me from continuing to sport my tshirts with the famous dog surfing, skateboarding, or just hanging out with a bevy of beauties.  I think my school issued a ban on the shirts if they said anything about drinking.  I remember wearing some of the shirts, but not all in my collection and I think that was the reason behind it.

By the way, if you didn't know Spuds was portrayed as a male dog, but was in fact a female.  She died a few years after her retirement from kidney failure at the age of 10 (70 in dog years).  Thanks for the great memories Spuds.

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