Bud Ice Penguin
It was last summer, when I previously did an article on a beer mascot. Course after doing five articles on the Budweiser Frog series, I took a break by doing other articles. But right now I decided to do more, cause Budweiser had other mascots instead of the Frogs, Chameleons, Tree Frog, Gator, & Ferret. For this week I’ll be doing one that is so forgotten that I hardly knew anyone who knows it’s existence. That mascot is of course the Bud Ice Penguin for Bud Ice Beer.
The brand was first introduced in 1994 by Anheuser-Busch, no introduction needed. Back when there’s an increase of alcoholic beverages that are beer but fall into a new category called iced beer. Which is basically pale lager beer which has undergone some degree of fractional freezing which creates a higher alcohol level than average brands of beer. Except iced beer is cheaper to purchase, which is a good thing when today’s economy isn’t as good as it was back in 1994. When times are rough, people need to have something to drown their sorrows. And if iced beer was expensive than people would result to buying non-alcoholic beer. Like how regular Bud had frogs to associate with it, Bud Ice had its own character for its ads. Which is an appropriate one, since its iced beer so it’s common sense for a penguin to be used for the ads.
When it comes to beer drinking penguins, I always think of Pen Pen from the ever popular mecha anime Evangelion. Usually seen drinking beer, due to Misato Katsuragi being a boozer. Unfortunately, Pen Pen never was seen in any beer ads from my knowledge. Specially when beer ads in Japan are done differently, heck you can buy a can of beer out of vending machine so easily that anyone under age could obtain a cold one. I could rant on about how different the beer industry works in Japan, but I’ll save that for a future article when I might consider doing an article on Akira Kurosawa & Francis Ford Coppola’s collaboration with a Japanese beer commercial.
Anyways back to the subject, the Bud Ice Penguin was created by the Goodby, Silverstein, & Partners company(the same people that produced the Franky & Louie Budweiser commercials and The Pizza Head Show) and first appeared in a 1996 Super Bowl commercial. Like the Budweiser Frogs, the commercial became such a hit, it was made into a series of ads. Each commercial is different from one another, usually the plot would be about an adventure, mystery, or a thriller theme to it. But thriller is the theme that is most common in these ads, due to the penguin showing up out of no where and scaring the day lights out of those who have a bottle of Bud Ice. That’s the bird’s main objective in all of the commercials, to get a bottle of Bud Ice without ever paying for his own. The penguin would go to great lengths in order to obtain his own Bud Ice, stalking individuals, hiding inside someone’s house, bashing one’s home until they give up their beer, or commit the biggest crime of the century by stealing the Stanley Cup and flee the country by plane as well as getting a Bud Ice on board a plane(you wouldn’t even get away with smuggling stolen trophies at an airport anymore). The character has a haunting presence to its personality, it looks like any normal penguin but always talks like a soft speaking psychopath with the catchphrase in every commercial “Doobie doobie doo”.
The ads were a hit among beer drinkers from ages 21 to 34, while sales on Bud Ice increased by 21% ever since introducing the character. The commercials were made within a two-year period. Spawning to a large number of merchandise including shirts, mugs, beer tap handles, and plastic balloons. The bird also was used for hockey promotions as well. By the late 90s, the character was abolished from the ads due to Munsingwear Men’s wear company demanded that they stop using the penguin for their ads due to them using a similar looking penguin for their own company. Basically they didn’t want consumers thinking a men’s wear store is associated with iced beer. So after the dispute was settled, the bird was never seen again. Ice beer continues to be manufactured by Budweiser and other companies, but the fact iced beer used to be symbolized by a penguin seems hard to believe in today’s era. Also this was before there was an over abundance of penguin movies which Bullcrap Man portrayed by James Rolfe complains how penguins get all of the attention and not other unique species of wild life.
My thoughts on the character, while I never actually remember seeing this character on TV, despite how I did see a good number of Budweiser Frog commercials whenever my dad is watching football. I do love the idea of an innocent looking penguin scaring off various people because of its obcession over one brand of beer is funny, amusing, and puts a twist to how I view penguins. This bird’s got nothing on Drake from “Pebble and the Penguin” or Feathers McGraw from “Wallace and Gromit”. Despite how Penguins are flightless birds, these old commercials prove you can reinvent the image of a flightless bird rather than continuously using the “Penguins can’t fly” logic from “Pebble and the Penguin”, “Opus Christmas Special”, or “The island episode from the Critic”. The joke was funny in Opus and The Critic, while Pebble and the Penguin didn’t use it well only cause they actually do show Rocko fly somehow despite how you don’t see him flap his wings. Making the chickens from Chicken Run look like they were doing it the hard way.
Well that’s everything there is to know about the Bud Ice Penguin, it be great if the character was revived but as long as Munsingwear is in business it won’t happen. Unless they somehow form an agreement so that way both sides can be satisfied with one another. Enjoy the commercials below this article, and for the rest of this month is nothing but beer articles. That’s right for the next five weeks will be on other beer mascots. Starting with the Budweiser Ants for next week.