Bud Light’s Spuds MacKenzie is back in a Super Bowl spot that feels a little like A Christmas Carol
Bud Light, which happens to be the Official Beer of the NFL, will showcase a 90-second Super Bowl spot as part of its new campaign, Famous Among Friends, which brings back the most famous and friendliest bull terrier in advertising history, Spuds MacKenzie.
Bud Light is bringing Spuds MacKenzie back from 1980s for Super Bowl 51.
This marks the 30th anniversary of Spuds’ Super Bowl debut in 1987, which doubled as his introduction as a Bud Light mascot.
Since then, Spuds has died, so it is apropos he returns as 'Ghost Spuds' in a Dickens-like move to help an unsuspecting man realize sharing a Bud Light with friends is more than just drinking beers – it’s about creating meaningful memories with friends, Bud Light said.
“Bud Light has been present at memorable moments – big or small – among friends for decades,” said Bud Light vice president, Alex Lambrecht, in a statement. “There’s no one better than Spuds to celebrate Bud Light, and remind everyone that we don’t just make beer, we enable moments that build and strengthen friendships.”
The 90-second spot will air in the fourth quarter, and was created by Wieden + Kennedy New York. Spuds first appeared in the 1987 Super Bowl and went on to become something of a pop culture icon, starring in about 20 spots total, a brand spokesman said. And while his turn in the 1988 Super Bowl reportedly included winning an Olympic gold medal and sharing a beer with a “gorgeous Russian woman,” in later spots he played the guitar and advocated responsible drinking.
That’s because while Spuds reportedly drove a 20% spike in sales, he did not come without controversy. In fact, in 1987, Senator Strom Thurmond cited Spuds – and the stuffed animals, toys and T-shirts small enough to fit 12-year-olds with his likeness – as an example of the alcohol industry glamorizing drinking among children.
A brand representative said Bud Light stopped using Spuds after 1988, it did not specify if it was as a direct result of the above controversy.
The brand noted Spuds will be shedding his former persona in Ghost Spuds – and he actually talks now with a little help from Carl Weathers. At the same time, Bud Light said his message of lasting friendships is one it thinks will resonate across generations and integrate with the broader Famous Among Friends campaign.
“His affinity for living life to the fullest with friends, both old and new, embodied the spirit of Bud Light that we still honor today,” the brand said in a release.
But don’t get too attached to him.
Spuds is coming back temporarily to help spread Bud Light’s message of friendship and “will return to the after-life following the big game,” a release noted.
"It’s been 30 years since we last saw Spuds McKenzie. Or 210 if you are counting in dog years,” said Wieden + Kennedy New York's executive creative director Karl Lieberman, in a statement. “Nevertheless, it was the right time to set the record straight about what Spuds always represented: bringing friends together.”