‘Ghost Spuds’ Haunts W+K’s Super Bowl Spot for Bud Light

By Erik Oster 

W+K debuted its new “Famous Among Friends” approach last month with the a 60-second ode to friendship set to Guns N’ Roses “Sweet Child of Mine.” For its Super Bowl spot for the brand, which will during the fourth quarter of the game, the agency turned to the American light lager brand’s best friend of years gone by: Spud Mackenzie — or, more accurately, his ghost.

The ghost of the famous Bull Terrier mascot shows up, in Dickensian style, to show a guy staying home instead of partying with friends what he’s missing. Carl Weathers voices the ghost dog, who shows the young dude that he wasn’t there for his friends last week for trivia night at the bar and missed out on a “bacon legs” inside joke, but he can be there for this friends, who are in danger of running out of Bud Light, right now.

“It’s been 30 years since we last saw Spuds McKenzie,” W+K executive creative director Karl Lieberman said in a statement. “Or 210 if you are counting in dog years. Nevertheless, it was the right time to set the record straight about what Spuds always represented: bringing friends together.”

The latter part of the statement is perhaps meant as a reference to Spud’s retirement in 1989, following allegations by the Center for Science in the Public Interest and Mothers Against Drunk Driving that the brand was using the character to appeal to children. For what it’s worth, the FTC found no evidence to support the claim, but Bud Light decided to retire the character anyway.


Spuds has made his mark on pop culture, with references to the character from Neil YoungThe Golden GirlsThe Simpsons and Futurama, to name a few. That the character is meant to stoke nostalgia in older viewers and that the spot is tied to the brand’s friendship message will likely shield it from the type of criticism it received over Spuds in the late 80s.


Client: Bud Light
Ageny: Wieden Kennedy, New York
ECD: Karl Lieberman
Creative Director: Brandon Henderson
Creative Director: Erwin Federizo
Art Director: Mark Potoka
Copywriter: Matt Spicer
Head of Integrated Production: Nick Setounski
Executive Producer: Temma Shoaf
Assistant Producer: Jordan Leinen
Strategist: Nick Docherty
Account Management: Brandon Pracht, Price Manford, Lauren Wilson
Business Affairs: Patrick O’Donoghue, Justine Lowe, Carolina Hernandez
Communications Planning Supervisor: Mark Malloy
Project Manager Sunjoo Ryou

Production Company: Hungry Man
Director: Bryan Buckley
Executive Producer: Mino Jarjoura
Producer: Matt Lefebvre
Director of Photography: Scott Henriksen

Editorial Company: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: Carlos Arias
Post Executive Producer: Eve Kornblum
Post Producer: Melati Pohan
Editorial Assistant: Anne Laure Dhooghe

VFX Company: The Mill
Executive Producer: Verity Grantham
Producer: Clairellen Wallin
VFX Creative Director: Corey Brown
2D Lead: Siro Valente
3D Lead: Christian Nielsen
2D Team: Jeff Robins, Andre Vidal, Warren Gebhardt, David Forcada, Krissy Nordella, Molly Intersimone, Heather Kennedy, Sung Eun Moon, Dae Yoon Kang ,Ting Jung-Hsu
3D Team: Adam Dewhirst, John Wilson, Justin Kurtz, Jackie Liao, Christine Kim, Ross Scroble, Ren Hsien-Hsu
Matte Painting: Cedric Menard
Production Coordinator: Kate Aspell

Color: The Mill
Head of Color / Grade Artist: Ferg McCall
Assists: Nate Seymour, Zack Wilpon & Daniel Moisoff
Color Producer: Natalie Westerfield
Color Coordinator: Elizabeth Nagle

Mix: Sound Lounge
Mixer: Tom Jucarone, Glen Landrum
Executive Producer: Mike Gullo
Producer: Liana Rosenberg

Music: Tonefarmer
Creative Director: Raymond Loewy
Composers: Daniel Sammartano, Casey Smith
Producers: Tiffany Senft, Elizabeth Munoz

Sound Design: Company Jafbox Sound
Composer: Joseph Fraioli

Animation: Brand New School
Creative Director: Brumby Boylston
Head of Production: Amy Russo