Illustration of Gorbachev made to look like an animal wearing a pointy hat on a red background with white text
copyright 1988 EPHEMERA INC box 723 SF 94101
This button parodies former head of state of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, combining his face with the former mascot of Anheuser-Busch's Bud Light beer, Spuds MacKenzie.
Spuds MacKenzie was a bull-terrier, and made its debut in an advertisement for Bud Light during Super Bowl XXI in 1987. The character, described as "The Original Party Animal", quickly rose in popularity and became the source of controversy. Interest groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving stated that Spuds MacKenzie was being used to target children through advertising. Anheuser-Busch retired the character in 1989. However, in 2016, Spuds MacKenzie returned for a new Bud Light advertisement during Super Bowl LI.
Mikhail Gorbachev was the eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 until it's dissolution in 1991. During his time in office, he enacted economic and cultural reforms that relaxed social control, offering citizens new freedoms that they had not previously experienced, but also damaged the Soviet Union's economy to the point that the Communist government collapsed. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev has remained active in politics, attempting to start several social-democratic parties in Russia.
The origin of the button may be due in part to the potato being a staple crop of the Soviet Union, and may also be due to Gorbachev's distinctive port-wine stain birthmark on his forehead resembling Spuds MacKenzie's dark facial markings.