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Home > Index > Advertising > Mascots (People) > Whassup! Guys
 
 Advertising Mascots - People

Whassup! GuysWhassup! Guys - Group of four 'Everymen' who greet each other with exuberant exchanges of "Whassup!" in a series of successful Budweiser commercial first seen during the Super Bowl in 2000. The commercial (rated by USA Today's Admeter as the Super Bowl's most popular) showcased the male bonding between four middle-class black males who shared not only their friendship, but their favorite beer: namely, Budweiser.

Described as a "verbal high-five," or the "verbal equivalent of the chest bump." the delivery style of the "Whassup!" phrase varied from a shrill banshee cry to a slow, smooth mumble.

The tongue-waging guys who starred as the "Whassup! Guys" in the TV spots were director, Charles Stone III, 34, and his three real-life best friends - actor Paul Williams, 32; bouncer, Scott Brooks, 36, and filmmaker, Fred Thomas, 30.

According to Charles Stone III, the director and costar of the award winning Budweiser commercials, the preferred pronunciation is "Whaazzaaah?!!"  rendered with tongue dangling, just about to the floor. Fred Thomas suggested you just need to "relax the throat and extend the tongue. 'You know, it's like, whassup?'"

The Whassup! commercial campaign began life in 1998 as a two-minute black and white film made by Stone, called True. that chronicled a longtime circle of Philadelphia friends including Thomas, Brooks and Williams who were just hangin' out watching sports on television and tossin' round words like "True" and "Whassup!" As Stone recalled "We used to call each other on the phone 15 years ago, during our college years, and that was our greeting."

Williams: Ay, who, whassup?
Stone: Nothin', B, watchin' the game, havin' a Bud. Whassup wit'chu?
Williams: Nothin', watchin' the game, havin' a Bud
Stone: True, true.

 -- excerpt from  "Whassup" TV spot

When it came time to cast the parts for the TV commercials, hundreds of actors were auditioned, but, in the end, Thomas, Brooks and Williams were hired to play themselves.

Basically, the original Whassup? ad is a 60-second version of Stone's film "True." The Whassup "True" spot garnered both a Grand Clio at the 41st Annual Clio TV and Radio Gala, as well as the Grand Prix, the granddaddy of all advertising awards, at the International Advertising Festival in Cannes, France in June, 2000.

The Budweiser Whassup! adverts also inspired legions of parodies including skits on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, and cameos in the horror spoof Scary Movie (2002). The phrase was even adopted as an NBA player mantra, "Whassup?" And, in what was called a "respectful homage," the Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco who produced the Louie the Lizard commercials for Budweiser, created three spots that poked fun at the "Whassup" campaign created by their rivals at DDB Worldwide ad agency and aired during the National Basketball Association finals on NBC.

In one spot, Louie accuses the "Whassup?!" actor of stealing his "tongue moves" while type appears on the screen asking, "Coincidence?" In another spot, straight-lizard Frank declares Louie's "Whassup?!" interpretation a "new low." And in a third spot, Louie pressures Frank to try saying "Whassup?!" Once Frank tries, Louie says, "You stink, that's Whassup." (Advertising Age: May 29, 2000: "Whassup? Bud agencies exchange beer barbs").

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