The Super Bowl LI return is temporary and is meant to coincide
with the 30th anniversary of Spuds' debut. Bud Light even brought
back Mr. Leach, who in the voiceover for the new spot says, "that
was Spuds MacKenzie reminding you, you're not just here for the
parties, you're here for the friendships," as Spuds ascends back up
into dog heaven carrying a Bud Light.
The ad seeks to tie into Bud Light's new "Famous Among Friends"
campaign by using ghost Spuds to lure a man back out with his
friends after he was resigned to spend a night in. Anheuser Busch
InBev's Bud Light VP Alex Lambrecht said Spuds' return is a
one-time event designed only for the Super Bowl ad, which will not
be put into regular rotation after the game.
"We wanted to do something that is appropriate to the cultural
moment and we feel Super Bowl is that perfect moment to make a
statement," Mr. Lambrecht said.
He added: "On Monday, the day after the game, we will send out a
final message from Spuds MacKenzie where he is going to be thanking
all the viewers [and] all of his friends in the U.S. and being
happy that he can go back to afterlife [and] enjoy a Bud Light with
the Budweiser frogs," Mr. Lambrecht said, referring to the classic
Ghost Spuds is voiced by actor Carl Weathers, who is known for playing
roles like Apollo Creed in the "Rocky" franchise and Chubbs in
"Happy Gilmore." Just like the original Spuds -- who died in 1993
-- ghost Spuds is portrayed as a make but is actually a female dog.
The bull terrier's real name is "Gigi" and she is a trained acting
The original Spuds quickly became a cultural phenomenon after
his 1987 debut. The Los Angeles Times
documented his rise in a 1987 story that called him "the
nation's most unlikely sex symbol" and a "canine cross between
Bruce Willis and John Belushi." Macy's department stores began
selling Spuds-inspired gear and the dog made a guest appearance on
"Late Night with David Letterman," the newspaper reported.
Spuds was credited with helping to boost Bud Light sales by 20%
between 1987 and 1988, according to a New York Times report at the
But Anheuser-Busch was targeted by critics who argued that Spuds
encouraged underage drinking. Those complaining included Republican
Senator Strom Thurmond, who in late 1987 took his case to the
Senate floor. "I am fully cognizant of the free-speech rights of
the alcohol beverage industry," he said, according to an account
from the Associated Press. "However, what is the cost to society of
this freedom to advocate unlawful teenage drinking?" Much of the
debate involved Spuds MacKenzie licensed gear -- from T-shirts to
mugs -- that critics said encouraged underage people to drink.
Asked if AB InBev was expecting any backlash from bringing Spuds
back, Mr. Lambrecht said: "We feel that the way we are introducing
Spuds is, we are doing it in a very responsible way. He is going to
be reminding consumers that it was not about the party, it was all
about the friendships -- so we are clearly making sure every single
time our message goes out it will be done in a very positive