Budweiser just released a new version of its classic "whassup" commercial that's not only funny, but also serves as a genuinely touching public service announcement in the time of coronavirus.
The original commercial, which aired in 1999 featured a group of friends "watching the game, having a Bud" and greeting each other by sticking out their tongues and yelling "whassup" through the phone. Months after the commercial aired, it was pretty much impossible to escape the beer maker's new tagline-greeting.
The new spot, released Thursday, puts a twist on the iconic ad by encouraging people to check in on their friends and loved ones just to see "whassup" during this unusual time of isolation.
The ad features former NBA stars Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, WNBA star Candace Parker and DJ D-Nice all greeting one another on a Zoom-like video chat.
The PSA begins with Wade placing a video call to Bosh.
"Whassup with you?" Wade asks after his friend answers.
"Just re-watching some games, having a Bud," says Bosh, referring to the fact that right now sports fans can only watch repeats of old games since all major and minor league sporting events have been canceled to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
On March 11, the NBA suspended its entire season after a player tested positive for COVID-19. The next day, Major League Baseball announced it was suspending spring training and delaying the start of its season. Earlier this month, Wimbledon was called off for the first time since World War II.
Next, the friends are joined by Parker and D-Nice before Gabrielle Union, Wade's wife, takes a break from "kid duty" to hop on the call with her husband.
After a rousing round of "whassups," Wade's voice takes on a more serious tone.
"For real, though, what's up with everybody?" he asks.
"You guys staying safe?" Union asks the group.
Then a message appears on the screen: "Checking in, that's whassup," says the ad, along with a number for the Salvation Army (844-458-HOPE) that people can call if they need to talk to someone.
This isn't the first time Budweiser has come out with an ad that made us smile and also tear up a bit. Last spring, the beer brand debuted an ad that came out just before Father's Day and paid tribute to stepfathers who often get overlooked on the holiday.
With this PSA, Budweiser says it's trying to do more than just sell beer.
“In times like these, something as simple as a hello, or in this case ‘whassup,’ means a lot," Monica Rustgi, Budweiser's vice president of marketing said in a press release. "Our hope is that by getting people to check in, we can play a small part in bringing the world closer together during these trying times.”
“My wife and I wanted to partner with Budweiser because we believe the message is crucial,” said Wade. “We both remembered the original ‘whassup’ ads and love the idea of bringing them back as a genuine PSA to connect with each other. We encourage everyone to take a moment out from their day to check-in, and I look forward to connecting with people across the country while having a Bud and re-watching a game soon.”
A second Budweiser commercial, also featuring Wade and Union, is set to premiere later this month.