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.
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?'"
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."
||Ay, who, whassup?
||Nothin', B, watchin' the game,
havin' a Bud. Whassup wit'chu?
||Nothin', watchin' the game, havin' a Bud
-- excerpt from "Whassup"
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
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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