Breck C. sent in a video of the original “Wassup” Budweiser ad. What strikes me about the commercial is the portrayal of male friendship: men don’t actually talk meaningfully, they just mention sports and yell catchphrases at each other. Yet this is associated with “true” friendship (as is Budweiser).
After watching it, I was trying to decide to what degree I thought race was an important factor in the commercial–were viewers likely to read this as how Black men interact, specifically, or just what men are like, more generally? African Americans are sometimes stereotyped as loud and more boisterously expressive than other groups, but lots of commercials portray men in general as sort of loud idiots (or children or animals) of some type or another.
I looked for some more “Wassup” commercials and came upon this one:
The only male shown being annoyed by the screaming–and not part of the friendship group–is the White guy at the end. I got the impression that he’s used to hearing it from them, so presumably he could have learned to like it as much as they have.
Both Breck C. and Burk sent in this update of the video, made by an independent director with all the original “Wassup” actors (and not in any way related to the Budweiser company):
Apparently this commercial became sufficiently imprinted in the public consciousness that it occurred to someone to update it as a political ad, assuming people would still remember and feel affection for the catchphrase and the characters. I had no idea.
Thanks, Breck and Burk!Gwen Sharp is an associate professor of sociology at Nevada State College. You can follow her on Twitter at @gwensharpnv.
becky — October 28, 2008
according to hip-hop artist questlove from the roots' twitter page, the new ad was directed by the same director that did the original corporate spot for budweiser.
becky — October 28, 2008
Fernando — October 28, 2008
On that second bud ad, one of the guys on the back seems white, same for another one in the couch and the first one in the receiver. And the guy in the middle, not sure if he is black or not, which reminded me of other posts you guys have on constructed notions of race.
Also, the last guy, I think what really stands out is that he is a square/dork, not that he is white.
Village Idiot — October 28, 2008
It should be pointed out that Budweiser is not real beer. At least it would not qualify as real beer under the historical German Reinheitsgebot, and that's a pretty good authority on beer. Therefore, the marketing of Budweiser needs to be dumbed down to people who don't know (or care about) what they're drinking. It's not about race or gender, it's about trying to sell some seriously lousy rice beer. See "Spuds Mackenzie" for another example of their marketing genius, or maybe those bullfrogs...
Gwen — October 28, 2008
Fernando--You make a great point. I don't know that I would have "recognized" a lot of those characters as African American in any other context outside an ad where the (presumed) racial character of the cast was repeatedly noted when I was looking for videos. I actually watched the updated video first, and I interpreted the character who first answers the phone as White until I read that he's Black. Apparently the actor who plays Dookie has a White parent: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Martin_Brooks.
sd — November 1, 2008
Actually, the Bud commercial was itself based on the short film "True", made by Charles Stone (who appears in the ad), and it was Stone who got the actors back together to make the 2008 update. (I did not know this until looking it up the other day.)
kima — November 2, 2008
The white guy in the second video is clearly a pizza delivery guy and therefore not a friend who would understand the joke.
Gwen Sharp, PhD — November 2, 2008
Kima--It just seemed to me that he seemed exasperated, as though he's sick of having it yelled at him (as opposed to has heard it and yells it back), but I could be wrong.
Sociological Images » SPECIAL PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION ROUND-UP! — November 4, 2008
[...] labor movement, a call to get your Jewish grandparents to vote for Obama, a political revival of the Budweiser Wassap video, and two examples of art inspired by the election (here and [...]