Beer has had a close relationship with television since the beginning of… well, television. That bond has spawned a sprawling canon of zeitgeist-reflecting, lexicon-expanding ads over the decades, as macro brewers hustling undifferentiated — or at least under-differentiated — products to the American drinking public relied on the strength of marketing to build brand loyalty. By the end of the 20th century, this crucible turned beer ads at their best into big-budget, high-stakes works of functional, lowbrow art. This brings us to “’Whassup!”

In 1999, Vinny Warren was working at DDB, a Chicago ad firm, and was on the hunt for a Super Bowl commercial idea for his client, Budweiser. The King of Beers was still selling better than Bud Light at that point, but just barely, and August Busch IV had been handed the reins to rejuvenate the flagship with a fresh new creative vision. As it turned out, Warren had just the thing. The short comedy sketch he stumbled across would eventually become the basis for “Whassup!” — one of the most celebrated and successful beer ads of all time. It didn’t stop Budweiser’s slide, because nothing could, but the ad (and its follow-ups) entered the phrase firmly into American vernacular and was elected to the advertising industry’s Hall of Fame a few years later.

Today on “Taplines,” Dave Infante is joined by Vinny Warren himself to discuss how it all went down. Tune in for more.

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