The Real Reason Budweiser Brought Back Its 'Whassup' Commercial

Hey, 1999 called and they said they'd loan their old commercial to 2020 for a PSA. That's right, a blast from the past has returned and the old Budweiser "whassup" commercial is back in a new form. The PSA partners Budweiser with the Salvation Army and encourages anybody who's feeling alone, depressed, or simply in need of somebody to talk with to call the nonprofit's hotline (via Today). 

The PSA begins with Miami Heat player Dwayne Wade calling his former Heat teammate Chris Bosh along with a subdued "whassup" greeting. Soon, the WNBA's Candace Parker and DJ D-Nice join the video chat session along with Wade's wife, actress Gabrielle Union. Like almost everyone else in the country right now, the group is just killing time at home, and it's not long before "whassup" becomes "WHASSSSUP?!!!" The PSA ends with a call to action to check-in on friends in family in this time of isolation. 

Dwayne Wade was a big fan of the original commercial

Budweiser's vice president of marketing, Monica Rustgi, told iHeart Radio they wanted to find a way to use the success of the original ad to "focus on human connection in a time when people may be feeling hopeless, uncertain, and alone." As for Wade's involvement, it was a no-brainer. "We both remembered the original 'whassup' ads and love the idea of bringing them back as a genuine PSA to connect with each other," Wade said.

The original "whassup" campaign was a monster success for the beer company and its tagline quickly became the greeting of beer-loving bros. The commercial first aired on Christmas Day in 1999, but didn't create much buzz (via Deseret News). It was only after it was tweaked and ran during the 2000 Super Bowl that it exploded. By 2001, Anheuser-Busch's sales had gone from 2.4 million barrels to 99.2 million barrels. 

Hopefully, this new version can be just as successful, but in a much more important capacity than selling beer.