Bud Light revived its controversial mascot Spuds MacKenzie for its Super Bowl LI commercial.


Spuds was a bull terrier debuted during the 1987 Super Bowl by Bud Light, and the mascot was at first very well received, lifting the beer’s sales by 20% that year and the next.

This year’s commercial brings back Spuds, but as a ghost. As a play on A Christmas Carol, Spuds visits Brian, a guy who decides to stay home after his friends invite him over. Cue Ghost Spuds, who takes Brian back through various memories of his friends enjoying Bud Lights that Brian missed out on.

“My soul can’t rest when people don’t drink Bud Lights with friends,” Spuds says. “Take my leash, I need to show you something.” And the ghost dog pulls Brian through a trip down memory lane. He ends up bringing the guy to his friend’s house, giving him a case of beer, and telling him to have fun.

In the late eighties, Bud Light took a lot of flak about the Spuds commercials. First, Sen. Strom Thurmond (R) complained that the company was encouraging underage drinking through the use of a canine mascot. In November 1987, he brought his case to the Senate floor, and demanded Anheuser-Busch stop the campaign.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving also became involved, and schools began to ban apparel featuring Spuds. The mascot was retired in 1989, with the company giving the excuse that they wanted to move on, creatively.

Even after this, Bud Light took on more opposition when people claimed the dog who played Spuds was poorly treated. Frequent rumors plagued them, with people reporting that the dog had died in a limo or strapped to a surfboard. Even more controversy came about when it was revealed that the Spuds actor dog was actually female, and part of the ad campaign was Spuds being surrounded by pretty “Spudettes.”

This year, the ad seems to have been fairly well received. A bit of humor at the end added to the cause, with Ghost Spuds telling Brian to wear a fedora to his friend’s house but conceding it was a bad suggestion after seeing the hat on his head.

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