NORTH RIVERSIDE, Ill. -- Spuds MacKenzie, the dog featured in one of the most successful advertising campaigns ever as the mascot of Bud Light beer, is dead, according to a published report.
Spuds, who gained fame as Bud Light's Original Party Animal, died earlier this year at his home in North Riverside, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday.
The bull terrier, who was white with a black patch around one eye, died of kidney failure, a common malady among bull terriers, the report said. He underwent dialysis before his death. Spuds was about 10 years old when he died.
Spuds actually was a pedigreed female bull terrier named Honey Tree Evil Eye. She was owned by Stan and Jackie Oles of North Riverside, who had been protective of their pet's privacy since its retirement from the spotlight four years ago.
The Oleses, who called the dog 'Evie,' apparently grew tired of reporters looking for stories about Spuds and did not tell the media about the dog's death, which occurred around May 31.
Officials at Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. of St. Louis, the world's largest brewer and maker of the Bud Light, confirmed Spud's demise.
The report was verified by Judy Hamby of Columbia, Ill., who formerly edited Barks, the magazine of the Bull Terrier Club of America. Hamby said she learned of Spuds' death through the dog's breeder, Peggy Selk of Woodstock, Ill.
Spuds rocketed to fame when the first television commercial using the character was broadcast during the 1987 Super Bowl. The dog was the star of several popular commercials until the brewery retired him in 1989.
During his heyday, Spuds was featured on T-shirts, mugs, posters and stuffed animals. His handlers carried business cards that identified Spuds as a senior party consultant for Bud Light.
'We were crushed when we learned of Spuds' death,' Bob Lachky, marketing director for Bud Light, said. 'Spuds was the booster rocket to the brand's success. It was truly one of the most powerful advertising ideas in the last 25 years.'
The idea for Spuds MacKenzie first came from an artist with DDB Needham, Worldwide, the Chicago advertising agency that has the Bud Light account. The artist made rough sketches for a poster layout featuring a dog with a dark patch over one eye and Spuds was born.