The line was first used in commerce in 1966 and was trademarked in 1986. Animation director Tex Avery was the producer of the first "Kills Bugs Dead" commercials. Artist Don Pegler developed the bug characters used in the US and continued animating them for forty years. Pegler "codified the look, feel and animation" of the weird insects that run in fear of Raid, according to Steve Schildwachter, executive vice-president at Draftfcb.
The slogan has been part of a successful, long-running advertising campaign. Conjuring up images of an Eliot Ness-style raid on an illegal bar during Prohibition, the television spots have featured the cartoonbugs (voiced by Mel Blanc) plotting some silly scheme like invading a kitchen, only to be foiled by the magical appearance of the product which swiftly dispatched the bugs to various giddily horrible deaths. The bugs would scream the brand's name ("RAAAIIIID!!!"), and then a huge cartoon-style explosion would occur, killing the bugs.
Similar campaigns have been run in other countries, either by dubbing the US cartoons or by producing local versions. See Destroyed Phantoms