Spuds McKenzie was a fictional dog character who appeared in Super Bowl commercials for BUD LIGHT in the late 80’s. Trading on his reputation as The Original Party Animal, success came easy to Spuds and he reveled in the glamour and adulation. But soon scandal caught up to him. First, it was revealed that he was actually a female dog, which apparently was scandalous. Then Spuds violated Ohio State law for appearing in an advertisement for alcohol, dressed as Santa. Click the link if you don’t believe me. Then Senator Strom Thurmond argued that Spuds was intended to get children interested in alcohol.
Tired of the bad press, Anheuser Busch exercised the morality clause in its contract and fired Spuds in 1989. Spuds was last seen on an animated episode of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, appearing with Chester Cheetah, Joe Camel and the polar bear from the Coke commercials.
Plaintiff specializes in ‘re-claiming’ brands that had been, in its view, abandoned by the original owners. Brands that it has revived include AIWA, COLECO and BRIM. It filed an application for SPUDS MacKENZIE for various pet products in 2013, and obtained a trademark registration.
In February, Bud brought back Spuds in a Super Bowl commercial entitled ‘Ghost Spuds.’ However, as Fitzgerald would say, there are no second acts in American dogs’ lives, and plaintiff has sued.
Sort of wonder about the copyright aspect to this.