A dog named “Honey Tree Evil Eye” just doesn’t have a nice ring to it in terms of advertising mascots. Change the moniker to Spuds McKenzie, however, and you have a partying pooch that anyone could love. In fact, that universal love-fest from people of all ages is what would eventually lead to the curtailing of the beer-hawking bull terrier’s appearances.
With an English ancestry and an American fondness for recreational activities, Spuds made a big bang right out of the starting gate, when he appeared during the 1987 Super Bowl. With an oval-shaped mug, accentuated by a big black circle around his left eye, Spuds quickly became a beloved icon. And how couldn’t you love the fun-loving canine? A lover of water, Spuds was often seen on yachts and jet skies and in swimming pools, showing off his high dive. Often in his company was a virtual harem of beautiful women, each of whom couldn’t help but fall for his charming animal magnetism. But Spuds had more than just aquatic talents; he also enjoyed horseback riding, hockey and skateboarding. There was seemingly no activity that he was afraid to tackle, and every viewer, young and old alike, marveled at this wonderful dog – and that turned out to be a problem.
The fondness that kids were showing Spuds would eventually force the pup into retirement. Organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Drivers grew concerned that the mascot was making partying a little too tempting to young viewers and potentially enticing them to drink beer. The Federal Trade Commission looked into the matter and deemed that Spuds wasn’t doing any such thing but Budweiser decided to err on the side of caution, and would only use Spuds in the future for a few public service announcements before sending the canine packing.
This wasn’t the only controversy that would surround Spuds during his career. A scandal broke out early on and shocked the nation, for all of a minute. Despite the dog’s inherent charm with his lady friends, it turned out that Spuds was actually a “she.” The public wasn’t about to let gender issues come between them and the partying pup, however, and Spuds remained as popular as ever. After receiving his doggy dismissal from Budweiser in 1999, Spuds retired to a quiet life in the Midwest, until he passed away four years later.
From humble beginnings, a female dog named “Honey Tree Evil Eye” set out to prove to the world that anything a male dog could do, she could do better. She has made the canine chapter of the ERA proud by her efforts to show the world that gender doesn’t matter when it comes to being a true party animal.
If you have fond memories of this lovable pooch from yesteryear, we hope you’ll share them with us in our comments section, as we tip our hats to an advertising mascot gone, but certainly not forgotten.