Whassup Bud: One of Budweisers’ Evergreen Television Ad Campaign

The first electronic television was invented in 1927 by a 21-year-old Philo Taylor and has subsequently evolved from a luxury item to a necessity in just a matter of 100 years. The television industry saw a paradigm shift after the first commercial was aired on July 1, 1941, in the United States, and henceforth, it has been a staple in brand marketing. To date, the influence of television in the marketing world is unbeatable. Here’s a story of a brand that profited from its television ad campaign and became a household name worldwide.

Budweiser Case Study

Budweiser’s claim of being the ‘King of beers’ might be disputable, but it is undoubtedly the undisputed ‘king of beer commercials.’ Anheuser-Busch (A-B) has always laid focus on effectively marketing its brands. Be it the Super Bowl ad campaigns in the early 20s for a whopping amount of $246.2 million or getting into the pop-culture through its ‘Whassup’ Campaign, the Budweiser brand always had its advertisement game on top.

First served in 1876, Budweiser reached heights in the US market during the 19th and 20th centuries and touched the pinnacle in 1988 with a 50.4 million barrels’ turnover. However, with changing trends in its customers’ dieting patterns, the focus gradually shifted towards low-calorie beers. In the 1990s, Budweiser sales were severely impacted by the likes of craft beers. Situations aggravated further with the popularity of wine and cocktail culture permeating the market, which prompted A-B to advertise its brand even more.

August Busch IV headed the brand marketing team back then, and it was under his leadership that numerous iconic ads were released. Remember the Budweiser Frogs: ‘Bud’ ‘Weis’ and ‘Er’ that appeared on Television commercials in the Super Bowl 1995 event? That truly created a path-breaking campaign for a beer brand. And then, how can one forget the ‘Whassup’ campaign in 2000 that took the pop-culture by storm.

Whassup Campaign 1999

Undisputedly, Budweiser hit the gold when the DDB Chicago agency found a clipping in a short film ‘True’ and decided on turning it into a commercial. Four friends, just chilling, “watchin’ the game, havin’ the bud” broke through all cultural barriers and became an overnight success, even in countries where Bud wasn’t sold. Young people resonated with the tagline and felt cool to drink Budweiser while shouting ‘Whassup’ to their pals. It effortlessly created a new pop-culture phenomenon worldwide. Click here for video.

The Ad was resourceful, relatable, and kept things on a lighter note. Such was the popularity that in 2000, Scary movie created a whole scene around this one catchphrase: Wazzup. Not only did it gain popularity, but the brand’s sale also expedited tremendously. The worldwide sale of Budweiser spiked up by 2.4 million barrels in the same year.  

Within a few months, innumerable variations of ‘Whassup’ flooded the news channels, TV shows, and people started greeting their buds with this catchphrase. The initial 1999 ad campaign won top accolades, including the Grand Prix in 2000, and the later installments too continued to garner attention. It was further developed into an elaborate campaign ‘True’ that focused on Budweiser buyers’ lives and sentiments

The comeback of Whassup Campaign in 2008 and 2020

The Whassup campaign made a comeback after eight years in 2008, but this time only to promote the likes of Barack Obama during the US Election. In a 2-minute video, the same crew was seen feeling dull and with zero enthusiasm, witnessing the country’s situation. The tagline was changed to “Whassup? Change, that’s Whassup”, showing the USA’s dire condition and highlighting that only Obama is the ray of hope in this situation. The Ad became an instant hit, gathering more than 2.6 million hits on Youtube. 

In 2020, it again made a comeback with a quarantined-theme remake urging people to check on their buds in these unprecedented times. The commercial used the original video but with a new meaningful phrase, “in quarantine, havin’ a Bud.” The commercial ends with the tagline, “Buds supports Buds. Check in on yours”. This Ad came in after the YouGov study, which suggested, one in every 5 Britons lived alone during the lockdown. To further support the cause, it simultaneously started with a new initiative, #SavePubLife – to support pubs closed in lockdown. 

It was definitely an excellent way to bring back its evergreen advertisement campaign for a beautiful cause and remind people to support each other during this time. Check the Ad below and don’t forget to message/call your buds. Click here for video

So, guys, this was a story of a brand that created history by launching a path-breaking Ad campaign on television in the 90s, becoming a part of the pop-culture and continuing its legacy through youtube and other digital marketing sites. 

In the end, Whassup people? Stay safe, and we wish you all a World Television Day. Indeed, many TV Ads have made a mark in the marketing world and will stay with us forever.