Spuds, we really knew ye


Usually Pam Chestek is in charge of the Zombie Department in trademark-blog-land, but Marty Schwimmer reports on the dogged past and attempted resurrection of a once-beloved, if only because presumably drunk (and rather popular with the distaff side) Man’s Best Friend:

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.  . . .

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.

Spuds MacKenzie and Friends
Friend of Man and Gal Alike: The LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION® of beer-swilling pooches

If you want to know what kind of “scandal” Spuds brought down on “himself” (foreshadowing!) and to read the complaint, head to the Trademark Blog.

Marty also wonders, sort of, about “the copyright aspect to this.”  After all, can Spuds be any less protectable as a “literary character” than the ever-shape-shifting Batmobile or, the anti-Spuds in every sense, Grumpy Cat?

You have to wonder.

Ron Coleman

I write this blog.

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