World’s best ads ever #15: Budweiser simply asks, ‘Wassup?’
We asked our readers to vote for their favorite commercials of all time. Top creatives from the World Creative Rankings and The Drum’s Judges’ Club then ranked the ads. Now, we bring you the definitive 100 best TV and video ads of all time.
Budweiser’s ‘Wassup?’, aired during Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000, is a rollicking telling of buds enjoying Buds, while connecting in the old-fashioned way: by shouting a shared greeting via a landline. It’s widely considered one of the best beer ads ever made.
Inspired by the short film True written and directed by Charles Stone III — and starring Stone and his friends — the concept was eventually picked up by DDB’s creative team, including art director Chuck Taylor and creative director Vinny Warren, who presented the concept to Anheuser-Busch. The beer titan then licensed the idea and brought on Stone to direct the TV ads, which were to be based on the original short film.
The campaign became an instant cultural phenomenon. It was parodied in Scary Movie, and its catchphrase ‘Wassup?’ served as a popular punchline on TV talk shows. The spot won the Cannes Grand Prix and also snagged a Grand Clio. It inspired a series of follow-up ads that offered new spins on the original theme, including ‘Wassup girlfriend?’, ‘Wassup grandmas?’, ‘Wassup wasabi?’ and even one of the earliest internet memes, ‘Wassup SuperFriends?’, a Cartoon Network parody featuring superheroes including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and more.
‘Wassup?’ did a lot to drive business for the beer giant, too. Reports by the New York Times indicate that it helped Anheuser-Busch boost sales by some 2.4m barrels. In the two decades since the spot originally aired, countless other iterations of the ad have appeared. And they’re still coming: Budweiser in 2020 teamed with Uber to create a modern twist on the old classic, and Today show anchors reenacted the original in a cheeky 2021 Halloween stunt on air.