Spuds MacKenzie: The Haunting Tale Of The Original Party Animal

Few commercial icons are remembered as fondly as Spuds MacKenzie. Budweiser created the party animal to push their product in the ’80s. By the ’90s the character had taken on a life of his own. Before the world ever knew who the most interesting man in the world was, there was the most interesting dog in the world. Not everything was sunshine and roses behind the scenes though. This is the haunting tale of the real life of the hippest doggo ever known. You won’t believe what song was inspired by Spuds’ entourage!

Spuds MacKenzie Wasn’t Really A Good Boy

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Spuds Mackenzie wasn’t a boy at all. The bull terrier cast to play Spuds was a girl. Her name, believe it or not, was Honey Tree Evil Eye. The truth about the dog’s gender was never supposed to be revealed, but People magazine broke ethical codes in 1987.

The magazine set out to debunk rumors of Spuds’ death and tracked down the family that owned her. In a massive breach of privacy, the published article even revealed the address of the Oles family. They, understandably, were not happy.

Honey Tree Evil Eye Was Bred As A Show Dog

Honey Tree Evil Eye Was Bred As A Show Dog

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Honey Tree Evil Eye (Evie) was a show dog in Chicago before becoming Budweiser’s ultimate party animal. She was unusually calm for her breed and stood out to advertisers because of the spot above her eye. Her first assignment was in ads across college campuses that said, “cool dog is cool.”

Before long, wholesalers demanded the adorable pup be put on TV. Because of her mellow personality, Budweiser found it easy to work Evie into commercials and built an entire advertising campaign around the newly minted Spuds MacKenzie. Coming up, find out the major sporting event Spuds’ first commercial aired during!

Spuds Made His Television Debut During The Super Bowl

Spuds Made His Television Debut During The Super Bowl

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The Super Bowl is one of the rare events when people want to watch commercials. It made sense then for Budweiser to debut its new company face during the big game in 1987. The commercial was simple. Spuds showed up at a party, thrilling all the women. Oh, and he had his own theme song.

The spot became so popular it laid out the blueprint for every Spuds MacKenzie commercial that followed. Whether Spuds was in a pool, skiing in the Olympics, or riding in a limo, his song always played, and women always swooned. Up next, learns whose iconic voice narrated Spuds’ rich and famous lifestyle!

Robin Leach Narrated Spuds’ Adventures

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To really get the point across that Spuds MacKenzie had the money to maintain his luxurious lifestyle, Budweiser hired Robin Leach to narrate their commercials. Leach, if you remember, hosted Lifestyle of the Rich And Famous from 1984 until 1995.

There was no doubt that Spuds was the king of the 1980s. Of course, as his fame rose, so did his partying habits. For the next two years, America’s number one beer company assaulted audiences with Spuds’ hard partying and womanizing ways. Budweiser had a good thing, and sales soared.

Bud Light Sales Increased By 20 Percent

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Between 1987 and 1988, Budweiser saw sales for Bud Light increase by 20 percent. Business was booming, and everyone wanted to know what the secret to Spuds’ success was. According to Bill Stolberg, there’s not really a secret at all.

Stolberg worked on the original campaign and said Spuds was so popular because no one ever acknowledged that he was a dog. Watch any advertisement, and you’ll notice there’s never a reference to Spuds having four legs and a wet nose. When asked what kind of breed Spuds was, Stolberg replied, “he’s not a dog, he’s an executive.”

Spuds Was So Popular He Made Live Appearances On Talk Shows

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At the height of his popularity, Spuds went on a publicity tour. He appeared on Good Morning America and was even interviewed by Dick Clark. Surrounded by “Spudettes” who answered questions for him, Clark had one of the more interesting interviews of the 1980s.

Sitting next to the pooch, Clark asked the question that People had printed about his gender. When asked if the rumors about him being a “her” were true, one of the Spudettes answered, “He’s got three women around him.” Next, find out which rapper wrote his biggest hit about his hate of the Spudettes!

The Spudettes Inspired The Song “Baby Got Back”

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Spuds may have been famous, but the Spudettes had a fanbase of their own. Budweiser knew their target market and hired models and aspiring actresses to follow Spuds around and speak for him. Sir Mix-A-Lot, however, wasn’t a fan of the dog’s entourage.

The image of the Spudettes upset the rapper so much he wrote “Baby Got Back” as a response. He said the girls were, “little skinny chicks looking like stop signs, with big hair and skinny bodies.” If you don’t know, you can probably guess what his ode to the female body was about.

There Was Senate Battle About Whether Spuds Encouraged Underage Drinking

There Was Senate Battle About Whether Spuds Encouraged Underage Drinking

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In one of the more ridiculous Senate meeting of the 1980s, Strom Thurmond waved a Spuds doll in front of other representative and blamed the mascot for underage drinking. During his big moment, he also positioned himself in front of posters with the “Ayatollah of Partyollah.”

Waving the doll around, Thurmond made this statement, “‘I am not confident in the voluntary efforts of the alcohol beverage industry to increase public awareness of the hazards of alcohol abuse with 12-year-olds drinking wine coolers and wearing Spuds MacKenzie T-shirts.” Up ahead, Spuds’ campaign comes to its frosty end.

Spuds Slowly Faded Away After Budweiser Sobered Up

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Spuds MacKenzie returned for one last Super Bowl appearance in 1989. This commercial was different than any before. Thanks to Spuds’ popularity and eventual backlash, Budweiser began a campaign pushing responsible drinking.

The newly sobered-up Spuds sat in a chair with three Spudettes and played guitar. There was no beer featured in the image. At the end of the spot, a tagline appeared that read, “Know When to Say When.” After that, Spuds slowly faded out of all advertising for the beer company.

Spuds Returned In 2017 As A Ghost For One More Super Bowl

Spuds Returned In 2017 As A Ghost For One More Super Bowl

Photo Credit: Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Spuds’ retirement didn’t last long. In 2017, Budweiser brought Spuds back, this time as a ghost voiced by Carl Weathers. Sadly, this is not a joke. In the Super Bowl ad, a guy bails on his friends. Ghost Spuds shows up and shows him all the fun he’s missing by not drinking Bud Light with his friends.

At the end of the commercial, Spuds hands the guy a 12-pack of beer, then asks him to open one for him. Because he has paws. With a Bud Light in his ghost dog hand, Spuds disappears, having saved the day one last time.