DEAD: Spuds MacKenzie

DEAD: ON THIS DATE

Spuds MacKenzie (aged 9)
Dog mascot of Bud Light beer

Spuds MacKenzie is a fictional dog character created for use in an extensive advertising campaign marketing Bud Light beer in the late 1980s. The Spuds MacKenzie mascot and campaign were created by a 23-year-old art director, Jon Moore. At the time he was working at Needham, Harper & Steers, a Chicago, Illinois, advertising agency. The dog first showed up in a Bud Light Super Bowl XXI ad in 1987. During the height of his popularity, large amounts of Spuds merchandise was available, such as plush toys and t-shirts where the dog was seen surfing a wave or Hanging Twenty.

The dog, portrayed by a female bull terrier named Honey Tree Evil Eye, was not without its share of controversy. Shortly after Spuds’ rise to fame it was learned that the dog, who was portrayed as male in the commercials, was actually female. The ads were also the subject of attacks and calls for censorship by temperance-oriented groups. Soon after the ads were first aired in 1987, Senator Strom Thurmond began his own media campaign, claiming that the beer maker was using Spuds to appeal to children for the purpose of getting them interested in their product at an early age. By Christmas 1987, more legal action resulted from Budweiser’s use of ads featuring Spuds dressed as Santa, which is illegal in states such as Ohio.

DEATH: The dog’s real name was Honey Tree Evil Eye or Eviefor short (October 7, 1983 – May 31, 1993). She was from Malvern, Pennsylvania, but moved to Warsaw, Indiana, at a very young age. She died of renal failure in North Riverside, Illinois.

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