Sad news from the world of beans this week. The dog that portrayed the long-running mascot of Bush’s Baked Beans, Duke the golden retriever, has passed away after a battle with cancer. According to a recent Facebook post by a friend of the family who owned Sam, the dog actor that portrayed the mischievous, commercial disrupting Duke.
It’s unlikely many people are going to feel like their lives are a little less full now that the Bush’s Baked Beans dog we remember from commercials we all only ever half-watched is dead, but this is still, of course, a bummer. Because a dog died.
Considering that Bush’s Baked Beans commercials are about as inessential as any brand commercial could possibly be, the bean canner should really just go ahead and make their next round of commercials a tribute to Sam/Duke. No one’s invested in the narrative, Bush’s Beans. Okay? If your commercial had featured that same bald guy with the glasses (Jay Bush?) and, instead of a mischievous dog who always found a mildly (at best) entertaining way to interrupt what was going on, they featured, say, a goofy human actor doing the exact same thing, it feels safe to guess that Bush’s commercials would be among the most hated in the country.
That dog really earned you a lot of leeway, Bush’s Baked Beans. Without him you’d have been the Geico of grocery store items. The least you can do is pay tribute Sam. “Thank you for making our brand bearable for all these years, boy. Go lick up delicious scraps at that big barbecue in the sky.” Then roll that beautiful bean footage with Taps playing over it. Don’t you dare just get a look-alike professional dog and act like nothing happened to the real Duke.
In fact if Bush’s doesn’t pay tribute to Sam/Duke we should all go ahead and, um, start buying other baked bean brands? Do you do that already? I have no idea if I do. How could anyone possibly have a recollection of what brand of beans they buy?
It’s official: the only memorable things about any baked bean brand in the country, including the Bush’s Baked Beans “secret family recipe,” just died. The Bush’s brand may never recover.