Flashback Friday: Spuds MacKenzie

spuds

Wouldn’t you have wanted to have been in on the brainstorming session that let to the invention of Spuds MacKenzie, Bud Light’s “Original Party Animal”? I mean, honestly, what could that pitch have possibly sounded like?

“Well, gentlemen, we’re here to come up with a new advertising campaign to yet again distract drinkers from the fact that our product tastes like it came out the wrong end of one of our Clydesdales. So what I propose is that we create a character guaranteed to secure our place with a heretofore completely untapped market: children. Children and really stupid adults gullible enough to believe that if our beer is good enough to get hot chicks for a dog…it’ll be good enough to do the same for them.”

And thus Spuds MacKenzie was born, and Anheuser-Busch secured their place, right alongside Camel cigarettes and their cartoon-cool mascot Joe, as unscrupulous capitalists so hell-bent on making money that they would willingly market their drugs of choice to kids.

Of course, Anheuser-Busch swore ignorance. How dare you all! Spuds wasn’t for kids! If he were meant to attract kids, there would have been stuffed animals and T-shirts and toys and cartoon versions and…oh.

Yeah. How do I know Spuds was meant for kids? Because I was a kid when he first appeared in the late 80s…and I loved him. I used to draw him. I had a couple of stuffed Spuds. I even once got in trouble at my uptight religious school for wearing a Spuds MacKenzie T-Shirt to class one day (admittedly not the brightest choice, but I was 11). The teacher told me that I either had to go into the restroom and turn my shirt inside out or he would have to call my parents and send me home. Looking back, I should have taken option B. Oh, and for the record, this was the shirt I had, only mine was white rather than yellow:

spudsshirt

Look at that adorable cartoony punim! Spuds was totally for kids. True, they softened the blow (or perhaps hardened it?) by adding the “Spudettes,” a bevvy of beautiful women who accompanied Spuds wherever his adventurous beer-swilling life led him: the beach, the red carpet, the Olympics. Bud Light, the beer of gold medalists the world over!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deqx2VeiLaY&w=480&h=360]

Right.

We were all so very young and innocent once, denizens. Most of us. Some of us were just stupid.

While looking at some commercials on YouTube for ones to post with this Flashback, I came across this bizarre snippet from some Dick Clark show. It’s of Clark “interviewing” Spuds MacKenzie…although, really, it’s just Clark chatting up the Spudettes while Spuds sat on one of their laps in a doggie-sized tuxedo. Two things to note: Lela Rochon, who would later appear in movies like Harlem Nights, Boomerang, Waiting to Exhale, and Any Given Sunday, was one of the Spudettes; and the poor dog is so pathetically doped that PETA should have done an emergency rescue after this was aired:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6guVf_EBHs&w=560&h=315]

One thing to note from this clip (just one?!): the dog that played Spuds MacKenzie actually was a female Bull Terrier (named, of all things, Honey Tree Evil Eye, according to the scion of truth, Wikipedia). Because, really, who wants dog peener in a commercial for a beer that already tastes like pee?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Fm3_kj9DL8&w=480&h=360]

P.S. – Robin Leach, really? Really?