Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bud Can't Stop 'Whassup' Guys From Selling Obama

The Wall Street Journal: Odds are you've already seen it: The "Whassup!" guys are back, this time in a viral video for Barack Obama. All the original actors have returned for the 2-minute video, but this time things have gotten bad. One is fighting in Iraq, another has lost his money and his health insurance, and another is trapped in a hurricane. So what's up? Change, in the form of Barack Obama. True, true.

But the video is causing a ripple in industry circles, because Budweiser -- which clearly has no interest in backing a presidential candidate -- is powerless to stop it. In a departure from normal industry practice, neither Anheuser Busch nor its ad firm, Omnicom's DDB Chicago, own the Whassup slogan or concept. Instead, the brewer paid Charles Stone III, who created and starred in the ads, roughly $37,000 to license the idea for five years. That deal expired three years ago.

"If you don't own the idea, you don't have any control," says Allen Adamson, managing director of the New York office of Landor Associates. "It's like driving the car from the back seat." The video so far has more than 2 million views on YouTube"

The conditions are perfectly right for a rehash
This is a beautiful thing, but only because the planets have realigned to allow whassup re-entry into the adsphere.
It’s got a lot going for it:
  • Obama is sexy. His campaign is sexy, his ideas are sexy, he has signed up the celeb elite to side with him and all sexy leftist media are on Obama's side. Anything Obama appears to be and is a winner these days.
  • Reminiscent of a previously successful TV campaign. "Remember Whens" by default are rich with nostalgia and emotional impact. You think back to the glory days of when the ad aired, people get all fuzzy and warm inside and they really just like to reminisce.
  • Come at a perfectly topical time of american economic and social crisis. The shit is hitting the fan harder than it has in the last couple of years. As long as an american slams any health, war or economic issue coupled with the implication of 'change', US citizens will resonate with it. Personally I found the ad a little bit too long and boring (the guy after all isn't a CD, he is just some ponce with an idea).
So it all works, but only because there is a lot going for it. These douches will now get signed up for something else because no one failed to realise that without all these perfect conditions it would never have worked. They'll be scratching their heads next time thinking why their next phat idea hasn't worked after they failed to put it in the right time right place adapter.

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