Tag Archives: budweiser

I am an experienced expert. Do not try this at home!


That’s me (Vinny Warren) rubbing the head of a mountain lion. It was early morning and i was on a Budweiser shoot in California and slightly hung over. Still a bit giggly from the previous night, i noticed that the animal wrangler on the shoot (the spot featured a dog) had brought along three mountain lions which he’d chained up in the back yard of the rather luxurious house we were shooting at in the mountains outside LA. To my still slightly inebriated eyes, they looked very cute and placid.

I assumed, incorrectly, that these mountain lions were the nice, cuddly and domesticated variety of mountain lion. You know, THE TYPE THAT DOESN’T EXIST! So i foolishly got on the ground next to them and cuddled with them, putting my arms around their necks and generally treating them like huge puddy tats! Only then did i suddenly notice how HUGE their paws and jaws were. And i became a bit concerned. So i asked the animal wrangler why he’d brought them. his response soon sobered me up. “Oh, i just bought them and i thought bringing them here would help them get used to being around people!”. In other words, I was the first human these man-eating felines had  contact with.  Ever!  The blood drained from my face as I slooooowly got up and walked out of paw’s reach.

I should note that this is only one of a series of photos i had taken that day. this was the smallest of the three mountain lions i cavorted with that day.   i will try and find the others.

Too hot for TV! Volume 2

This was yet another Whassup! exploration. This time we turned our sights on Hollywood culture. I think we did this one for the Oscars. And it would have been perfect. We ended up running something else on the Oscars. This one stung because it would have been perfect. It would still be perfect. We nailed Hollywood. Once again,  this spot was helmed by esteemed sopranos, sex and the city and Rome helmer:  Allen Coulter. Mike Colletta edited.

FUN FACT: Look for the guy with the white hair and toothy grin at the end. He was actually one of the producers of “The Player”, where he made a brief cameo role as a movie producer in his own movie. Here he once again played himself. He did it as a favor to the director.  

Jeff Goodby. A man of impeccably good judgement.


Adweek, celebrating its 30th birthday, asked some ad icons to select their favorite work from the past three decades. And i just read that Jeff Goodby of Goodby Silverstein fame selected our Budweiser work as his favorite campaign of the 1990s. Which is interesting because the campaign just about made it into the 90s. The first spot aired on Christmas day 1999 in an NBA game. So thank you Jeff. And might we reciprocate by saying how much we admired your work over the years on the brand. Frank and Louie will live forever.

in his article, Jeff repeats a myth about the campaign that i’ve seen in print several times  and  isn’t actually true – that the campaign only really took off when one of the spots aired on the Superbowl in February 2000. We did air a spot on the big game but it was by no means the hit of the game. It was actually ranked 22nd in the USA TODAY ad popularity poll.  Not a disaster.  but  by Budweiser Superbowl standards it was an abject failure.  But ultimately it didn’t matter. the genie was out of the bottle at that point.

A blast from the past

I created this ad for Budweiser back in 2000.  It debuted on the Superbowl and actually was the very first spot in the very first commercial break of the game itself.

It’s a parody of every dog food ad you’ve ever seen where the happy owner romps with his pet in a meadow, while the owner’s voiceover talks about his love for his pooch.

I hadn’t seen it years and was kind of surprised to see someone had put it on youtube.  we had great fun making it.  it still makes me laugh.  hope you like it.

The enduring appeal of sticking out one’s tongue and shouting “Wassup!”

It’s back.  I guess enough time has passed for the culture to have gotten over its Wassup! overdose in 2000.

The latest viral video charts show Wassup2008 at number one and the original Budweiser Wassup ad climbing up the charts at number 11.  Oh dear!

I can remember emerging slightly shell-shocked from the editing suite after we filmed the first Wassup! spots.  I’d listened to the phrase constantly for a week and was understandably heartily sick of hearing it.  So when people would come up to me and tell me, months later, how sick they were of hearing the phrase, i would nod politely and, in my head, go “Tell me about it pal!”.  I was arguably the first Wassup! burnout.

Like anything that is conspicuously successful, the whole Wassup! pop cultural phenomenon was written about and analyzed endlessly by the media at the time.  I recall being surprised about how blase i had become about being interviewed about the same thing over and over and over.  Lots of writers pointed out how the spots were great representations of male bonding etc…etc.

But for me the thing that made the whole thing work was much more basic.  And it was this.  When you screamed Wassuuuuuuup! a little bit of nervous energy left your upper body.  And you actually felt slightly better for saying it.  In much the same way that saying “IS NICE!!!” Borat-style is slightly cathartic.  It’s the same principle, physiologically speaking.

Go on, try saying both catchphrases.  You’ll feel better!

Mr. Feldwick’s theory about not making sense actually does makes sense. Scientifically speaking.

As we posted previously, we agree with Paul Feldwick’s theory about advertising that “doesn’t make sense” being more effective. Then we remembered something from last year we read in Adweek.

Some egghead boffin types hooked up volunteers’ brains to neurological analyzing machines. And played them commercials to see which types of ads tickled the brainbox most effectively

“We were trying to identify patterns that could be used,” said Bill Cook, svp, research and standards, ARF. “We saw powerful pieces of evidence for the impact of advertising.”

One such pattern was that a campaign like Bud’s iconic “Wassup” registered more powerfully with consumers than Miller Lite low-carb ads that essentially just said, “We’re better than the other guys.” Why? Because Bud told a story about friends connected by a special greeting.

Stop making sense!


Scamp (the UK’s premier ad blogger) recently posted about a study by Paul Feldwick. The gist of it is that advertisers miss because they aim for the consumer’s head (the rational) instead of the heart (the emotional/the irrational)

“We know brand preferences usually aren’t rational,” he says, “and yet we still persist in trying to put rational messages into our advertising.”

And one of the campaigns he references in his analysis is our very own Budweiser Whassup! campaign.

( i have cut and selectively pasted the following from his presentation)

..And here’s a TV commercial from a different brand.



Yo. So.

No indeed, just watching the game, havin a Bud …

True, true.



Yeah what’s that?

Yo, pick up the phone.


Wazza aahhh

Yo – where’s dukie?



Hello, hello? So what’s up

Watching the game, having a Bud.

True, True.


In both these cases it’s very hard, I think it’s actually impossible to analyse exactly how and why they make their effect. That doesn’t stop us trying and people often come out with their own answers but I think really it it’s what defies analysis…

Successful and truly creative ads, I think work in quite a different way. If we pretend that advertising is predominantly digital, then we’ll feel justified in thinking of any ad as being reducible to an intellectual, verbal construct, a message or a proposition or an idea. But if we understand that the important relationship building communication is taking place through the analogue mode, then we should really change our focus away from this abstract digital idea, back to the visual, visceral power of the entire advertisement; its colour, movement, music, timing and every detail.

TV ads work I believe, through the analogue mode where emotional engagement is created through the actual sights and sounds of the commercial. And great ads, like great works of art don’t have to be very obviously original. Like great works of art, they don’t have to have much to do with a single reductionist idea. They work as aesthetic wholes.


…Which is funny because back when I came up with the idea for the Budweiser Whassup! campaign, i remember loving it for its “wrongness”. it was both completely right and completely wrong. beer ads are supposed to be big, entertaining broadly comedic gagfests. The whassup! ads were real and chilled out. And nothing important or particularly funny happened. I remember typing up the scripts for the first round of scripts and feeling a little guilty at how little actually happened in what we were going to shoot. but none of that mattered. because the rightness outweighed the wrongness. you just liked it. it overwhelmed you. it didn’t ask you to please like it. it was confident and it was different. regular beer ads start life as advertising. whassup! didn’t. it started as a labor of love by Charles Stone. so it had a different energy. an energy we harnessed and redirected.

Whassup was an “aesthetic whole” as Mr. Feldwick might say.