Hey Google, Whassup? Budweiser resurrects an old favourite for the Super Bowl

Who: Budweiser Canada, with creative by Mosaic and media by Vizeum Canada.

What: “Whassup Again,” a made-for-Canada Super Bowl ad promoting the brewer’s responsible consumption partnership with Uber.

When & Where: Budweiser started teasing the spot on its social channels today in advance of its broadcast debut during Super Bowl LIV on Feb. 2. Among the teasers is a Twitter ad featuring actor Scott Martin Brooks (who played Dookie in the original ad) having his signature “Whassup?” misunderstood as “wheels up” by a smart device. Brooks told Howard Stern in 2002 that he feared becoming known only as the “Whassup guy,” but he’s apparently gotten over his misgivings.

Why: Budweiser has been a mainstay of Super Bowl advertising for decades, says Budweiser Canada’s director of marketing, Mike D’Agostini, wth a reputation for developing “bold and disruptive” ads around the big game. The ad is also part of the brand’s longstanding commitment to responsible consumption.

How: The spot largely recreates the original “Whassup” spot, but with various connected devices handling the dialogue. The popular Bud Red Light, which D’Agostini calls “our OG of smart devices,” also makes a cameo appearance.

The payoff comes in the form of a voiceover: “It’s a smart world. Don’t be stupid about how you get around.” The game day version of the ad will feature an Uber promo code available only on Super Bowl Sunday.

Why bring back “Whassup”? Because it’s among the most beloved commercials ever made, and nostalgia is a powerful factor in driving salience.

The original spot had its broadcast debut during Monday Night Football in December 1999 (you can read the whole story here) and quickly became part of the pop culture vernacular, spoofed in TV and movies. The spot was inducted into the Clio Hall of Fame in 2006.

“You know something is iconic when it inserts itself,” says D’Agostini. “The idea of ‘Whassup?’ has been re-used a number of times over the years… so for us it was very much alive and well even 20 years later. It made a ton of sense and it got us really excited to bring it back in a smart way.”

And we quote:“This was a script and an idea that we felt was perfect to bring to life how the world has changed in the last 20 years. It was the lead horse from one day.” —Mike D’Agostini, director of marketing, Budweiser Canada

Chris Powell