With Super Bowl XLV right around the corner, I decided to take a look back at one of my favorite ads…
WASSSSUPPPPP!? Why “WUSSUP”? Why did Budweiser beer not show up once through this ad? And why is this all acceptable in the advertising world? Well, the answer is simple; Reputation. The Budweiser campaign is designed to maintain popular awareness – to make sure that when a thirsty beer drinker has a choice of beers he will always say, “I’ll have a Bud.”
A product like Budweiser beer has a long-held reputation for being a good beer. Budweiser is the beer that my grandfather drank. Their commercials never make sense or relate to their product, but they are humorous and therefore, they are well remembered. Over ten years ago, you may remember the start of the “WUSSUP!” Budweiser “campaign”. Budweiser began throwing the scream of “WUSSUP!” throughout all of their commercials, and soon enough, people could relate this shout out to the beer itself. A commercial like the “alien-dog” doesn’t need to sell the actual beer. The “WUSSUP” slogan speaks for itself. The slogan is meant to reinforce the “When you want a beer, you want a Bud” conditioning of the beer-drinking public. Budweiser is such an established brand and has such known animal mascots that their commercials can skip the “hard sell” and go right for the entertainment.
Along with reputation, advertisers have many strategies that help lure in the consumers without us even knowing. The fact that the Budweiser ad stars a dog as an undercover alien, is not only what the industry, and the consumer, consider cute and cuddly, but also very humorous. It captures the audience: young or old; man or woman. The Budweiser brand successfully translates to every American. It convinces the audience that Budweiser is not only my grandfather’s beer, but is a beer that is contemporary, fun, and cute enough that it won’t harm you. “Bud”, once identified as the brand of the blue-collar worker, is now a brand for all ages and demographics.
Speaking of audience and audience appeal, advertisers want to portray and develop a character in their advertisement that will connect to their viewers. Did you think you connected to the Labrador retriever? The aliens? How about the young men down in the space station? No matter who you identify with in the commercial, however, you can relate to the phrase, “WUSSSSSUP!” It’s a phrase that has become associated with good times. Marketers expect us to identify with their advertisements in way one or another. Budweiser is not only selling beer, it is selling a good time. They not only want consumers to equate the phrase, “WUSSUP” with drinking beer, but also with “good times”. Following this line of thought, people will relate good times to not just drinking any beer, but to drinking a Budweiser beer.
In reality, Budweiser has no real challenges for the title “King of Beers”. It, arguably, is the dominant player in the US market. An estimated one in three Americans will “ask for a Bud” when given a choice. With a run of incredibly successful and creative television commercials featuring talking frogs and lizards, Clydesdale horses, and even alien dogs, it has insured the brand’s position over many years. One of Budweiser’s most popular campaigns in recent years – the “WUSSUP?” series – earned the company incredible brand recognition and even spawned a number of Internet parodies and television spoofs – further carrying out its message to the masses. In the process of doing this, Bud has become one of the most recognizable trademarks – and beers – around.