- Budweiser is rebooting its classic "Whassup" tagline for a new PSA collaboration with The Salvation Army that offers support to people in need during the COVID-19 crisis, according to materials the company shared with Marketing Dive. The spot shows friends connecting on a video conference with the theme, "Staying connected matters now more than ever."
- The Salvation Army launched a nationwide hotline this month to support people during the crisis. The hotline phone number appears at the end of the ad, which stars retired basketball player Dwyane Wade and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, checking in on his former Miami Heat teammate Chris Bosh, star of the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks Candace Parker and DJ D-Nice.
- The beer company is also giving people in the community the chance to say "whassup" through various activations on its social platforms every day at 6 p.m. ET. It will host "whassup" live chats every Thursday via Instagram Live on @BudweiserUSA. Celebrity guests will drink a beer and answer fan questions during the program. Wade will be the program's first guest on April 30.
Budweiser and The Salvation Army are teaming up to open the conversation about the difficulties hunkered-down households are facing across the U.S. The ad's conversation starts light as the stars share a beer, but gets deeper as they emphasize how nice it is to connect and how important it is to do in these uncertain and stressful times. The call-to-action at the end of the spot to reach out to friends, and to call the Salvation Army if needed.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused physical, mental and psychological distress from people who have been sick and lost loved ones to the illness, or face stress from lost finances and juggling homeschooling and working from home. More than half of U.S. adults admitted experiencing high or medium psychological distress because of the perceived health and financial threats and child care difficulty, per Pew Research.
The Salvation Army wants to send a life line to those who are struggling by offering a hotline that people can call to talk through their feelings. The partnership with Budweiser offers a soft way into this conversation. The ad stars popular athletes and entertainers using the tagline "whassup" as they connect over video chat like many Americans are these days. A majority of consumers are happy to hear how brands are helping out communities in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey by the 4A's.
For Budweiser, the beer brand has an opportunity to get consumers talking on social media by resurrecting its iconic 1990s campaign for a new cultural moment. Budweiser in recent years resurrected its "whassup" tagline on Instagram Stories and in a partnership with Burger King. The original "whassup" spot launched in 1999 and was based on a short film about childhood friends who frequently say "whassup," which becomes a running joke. The ad won a Cannes Grand Prix and has been parodied in films and TV shows.