Spuds MacKenzie and Joe Camel
Before it became taboo to use cartoonish characters and characters that appeared to appeal to kids to sell booze and smokes, there was the 1980's. To illustrate two of the more popular characters, Anheuser-Busch had Spuds MacKenzie for Bud Light, and R.J. Reynolds had the camel for Camel cigarettes.
The Spuds MacKenzie campgain started during Super Bowl XXI in 1987. It did not take long before Spuds MacKenzie merchandise was everywhere. There were plush toys, t-shirts, you name it. The ads rose the concern among a number of children advocacy groups, who felt like Bud Light was aiming the ad campaign at kids. By 1989, Anheuser-Bush retired Spuds. Not because of the controversy, according to them, but because Spuds took on a life of his own and began to overshadow the beer. Quick Fact: Spuds was actually a female Bull Terrier named Honey Tree Evil Eye.
Camel cigarettes starting way back in 1913, but it wasn't until 1988 that R. J. Reynolds took their camel (Old Joe) mascot and turned it into a hip cartoon character in the USA. His name was Joe Camel. By 1991, the American Medical Association was coming down hard on the mascot, stating that young kids better recognized Joe Camel than they did other cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny. R.J. Reynolds was asked to terminate Joe Camel, but they refused until the late 1990's. They ended up having to settle a number of lawsuits around the perception that Joe Camel was geard towards children.