The Story Behind Budweiser’s Iconic ‘Whassup?’ Campaign

Budweiser's "Whassup?" campaign was born out of a simple greeting between friends. The ad featured a group of guys checking in on each other with the now-famous catchphrase. The campaign became a cultural phenomenon, spawning parodies and even a feature film.

In 1999, Budweiser launched one of the most iconic advertising campaigns in history, the ‘Whassup?’ campaign. The campaign was created by the advertising agency DDB Chicago and was initially intended to be a one-off commercial for the Super Bowl. However, the ad’s popularity led to a series of commercials that ran for several years.

The Inspiration Behind the Iconic Catchphrase

The ‘Whassup?’ catchphrase was inspired by a short film called ‘True’ by Charles Stone III. The film featured a group of friends greeting each other with the phrase ‘What’s up?’ in a comical and exaggerated manner. The phrase caught on and became a popular greeting among young people in the late 90s.

The Evolution of the ‘Whassup?’ Ads

The first ‘Whassup?’ commercial aired during the 2000 Super Bowl and featured a group of friends greeting each other over the phone with the catchphrase. The ad was an instant hit and became a cultural phenomenon. Budweiser continued to release new ‘Whassup?’ commercials, each with a different twist on the original concept. The ads featured everything from aliens to talking frogs, but the catchphrase remained the same.

The Impact of the Campaign on Pop Culture

The ‘Whassup?’ campaign had a significant impact on pop culture. The catchphrase became a part of everyday language and was used in movies, TV shows, and even political speeches. The campaign won numerous awards, including a Cannes Grand Prix and a Clio Award. The ads were also parodied and referenced in popular culture, further cementing their place in history.


The Controversies Surrounding the ‘Whassup?’ Ads

Despite its popularity, the ‘Whassup?’ campaign was not without controversy. Some critics accused the ads of promoting binge drinking and irresponsible behavior. Others argued that the campaign was insensitive to people with speech impediments, as the catchphrase was often exaggerated and drawn out. Budweiser responded to these criticisms by emphasizing responsible drinking in their ads and creating a ‘Whassup?’ commercial featuring a man with a speech impediment.

The Legacy of Budweiser’s ‘Whassup?’ Campaign

The ‘Whassup?’ campaign remains one of the most memorable and influential advertising campaigns of all time. The catchphrase has become a part of popular culture and is still used today. The campaign’s impact on advertising and pop culture cannot be overstated, and it continues to inspire and influence advertisers to this day.

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