Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), a teetotaler, barked at "party animal" Spuds MacKenzie today, growling that the beer company terrier with one black eye is luring young people to alcohol.
Spuds has the lead role in a television campaign by Anheuser-Busch to promote Bud Light beer, and Thurmond charged that the "massive advertising and promotion campaign encourages youth to drink."
A large portrait of Spuds with the heading "original party animal" rested on an easel behind Thurmond as the 85-year-old senator thumped promotions for Bud Light. Thurmond also had with him a stuffed toy version of Spuds, a spinoff from the promotion campaign, along with T-shirts and other items.
The conservative said that despite protests, "Anheuser-Busch has no intention of curtailing the marketing of Spuds MacKenzie products. Toy manufacturers have been gearing up for what they expect to be record sales during the Christmas season."
He said that Michael Roarty, executive vice president of Anheuser-Busch, contends that Spuds was created to promote Bud Light only for those old enough to drink.
"The stuffed animals, children's toys and T-shirts small enough to fit 12-year-olds indicate the real purpose of the campaign," Thurmond said.
Thurmond said he had no confidence in the beverage industry policing itself and making the public more aware of the hazards of alcohol.