Budweiser beer is about as American as it comes (even though, yes, it’s Belgian-owned). Add to the equation Budweiser Beer Dogs, and you’ve got some of the best and most-loved advertisements in recent memory.
Despite the HUGE popularity of these commercials, Budweiser has stopped using dogs in their spots altogether. In fact, neither of the two Budweiser commercials released during this year’s Super Bowl featured an adorable puppy. (Trust us, we were looking.)
So why is this? Where’s the pup love? We did some digging to get to the bottom of this, and took a look through Budweiser’s history of dogs ‘n’ beer:
Since the early 1970s, Clydesdales horses had been the face (and tail and snout) of Budweiser. But the introduction of Spuds McKenzie in the 1980s marked the beginning of a decades-long affair between dogs, beer and advertising. Spuds, a Bull Terrier, was branded as Bud Light’s first official mascot and original party animal. Here’s a taste of one of Spuds’ early commercials:
The Bull Terrier’s presence in ads was popular — and not without its controversy. For starters, Spuds was portrayed as a male, when in fact, she was a female! In this 1986 ad, she is referred to as a “hunk” and a “party-lovin’, happenin’ dude.”
Other opponents of the campaign criticized it for targeting children by using a (cute) pup. This 1987 commerical does make Spuds look pretty cool at a boozy fest.
Bud attempted to rectify some of these issues with this 1988 ad, reminding its viewers and patrons to drink responsibly. After all, Spuds was the kind of guy who “knows when to say when” — and that’s cool. (Plus chicks dig that kind of stuff.)
Bud even showcased Spuds’ sporty side in this 1988 Super Bowl XXII, which featured him attempting an Olympic ski jump.
In the 1990s, Bud swapped out the Bull Terrier for a Dalmatian. You may recall this tear-jerking commerical about Dalmatian siblings separated at birth:
In 2007, Bud teamed up the Dalmatians with the classic Clydesdale for a winning combination, where dog trains horse in an inspiring, Rocky-esque montage:
In 2014, Budweiser shone a spotlight on the power of the pup with its unforgettable ad, “Puppy Love,” once again emphasizing the unbreakable bond between animals — this time between a Yellow Lab and a Clydesdale.
Budweiser proved their brilliance once again with their #FriendsAreWaiting ad, which showcased the love between a man and his dog — and the importance of drinking safely and taking steps to avoid drunk driving.
Then, in 2015 came the heart-wrenching commercial “Lost Dog” — which stands as the last time Budweiser used a pup in one of its ads. The one-minute spot for Super Bowl 2015 follows an 11-week Lab on an emotional, roller coaster ride as he gets separated from his best friend (a Clydesdale horse, of course!) and journeys far and wide to find home — and his closest pal — again.
No matter how many times you’ve seen it, it will make you feel like you’re watching Homeward Bound for the first time. Oh, and it’ll make you cry buckets of fresh tears.
While some uses of Budweiser’s dogs have garnered criticism, we sure do miss seeing pups pop up in these beautiful ads. And while puppies don’t necessarily have anything to do with a product like beer, dogs do make everything better, and so we have to ask: why not spread the pup love?