Spuds MacKenzie has risen from the grave to convince you that a night out with friends is more fun than staying home alone.
Anheuser-Busch, via its Bud Light brand, has resurrected the 1980s pop-culture icon in a 90-second Super Bowl ad that draws inspiration from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol — except with more drinking and less Scrooging — as part of its recently introduced “Famous Among Friends” campaign.
The spot, titled “Ghost Spuds,” will run during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s matchup between New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons, and features a specter of the famous bull terrier showing the commercial’s protagonist all of the good times that he’s missed by staying home.
“Bud Light has been present at memorable moments – big or small – among friends for decades,” Bud Light vice president Alex Lambrecht via a press release. “There’s no one better than Spuds to celebrate Bud Light, and remind everyone that we don’t just make beer, we enable moments that build and strengthen friendships.”
The ad also gives a wink to the 1980s campaign, which never acknowledged that Spuds was, in fact, a dog and not a person, something Mental Floss details at length. Another fact not acknowledged: Spuds was actually a female dog.
“Listen, I’m a man, you’re a man,” Ghost Spuds, voiced by actor Carl Weathers, says. “Take my leash. Let me show you something.”
Much like the Ghost of Christmas Past, Spuds shows the man several social situations that he’s missed out on before delivering him to a friend’s party with a case of Bud Light.
Wieden + Kennedy New York created the ad, which comes on the 30th anniversary of Spuds’ debut in a commercial during Super Bowl XXI. Don’t get used to seeing Spuds pitching Bud Light though; this return is only temporary, ending with the Super Bowl spot.
The timing of the pitch dog’s return comes after a year in which Bud Light sales declined 1.3 percent, according to market research firm IRI Worldwide, which measures scans at supermarkets, convenience stores, drug stores, mass-market retailers and select club and dollar chains. However, Bud Light remained the country’s top-selling beer, finishing the year with $5.9 billion in sales (MULC), down $81.6 million over 2015, the firm also reported.
So will Spuds help sell more beer? Perhaps. Between 1987 and 1988, when Spuds was hawking Bud Light, sales increased 20 percent, according to The New York Times.