Arati Rao
Jun 08, 2012

My favourite Cannes Grand Prix: Roopak Saluja

Saluja's pick is the popular 'Whassup' campaign of Budweiser that won in 2000

My favourite Cannes Grand Prix: Roopak Saluja

The Cannes International Festival Of Creativity is just over a week away now. While we're looking forward to know who will be the big winners this year, we've also been celebrating some of the legendary work from the past through this series.

Roopak Saluja, co-founder and managing director, Bang Bang Films & Jack in the Box Worldwide, selected a campaign that hinged on a phrase that's as popular today as it was back in 2000 - Budweiser's 'Whassup' that won a Grand Prix in Film in that year.

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Saluja said, "The year is 2000.  People have just started sharing entertaining videos as attachments heavier than most servers could take.  Viral videos have been born (and Youtube is still five years away).  After taking America by storm, Budweiser's "Whassup" has been doing the rounds of people's inboxes, giving guys all over the world a collective communal feeling of being 'boys'.  Women too find it funny in a rolling-their-eyes-but-chuckling-nonetheless kind of way.  A young Indian account executive from Y&R Budapest manages to score a free trip (with accommodation) to Cannes as payment for a gig with the Hungarian Producers' Association, promoting Hungary as a shooting location…  

In the four days I spent at Cannes that year, it was like a universal inside joke.  Complete strangers passed each other yelling "Whassuuuuuuuuuup!".  I remember a moment in the loo of the Martinez basement (a regular peeing option if you're part of the throng that occupies the space from the left of the Gutter Bar to the insides of the Martinez lobby at 3am) when one guy yelled "Whassuuup!" and everyone else responded to create a spontaneous rendition of the commercials that went on for a good sixty odd seconds.  It ended with complete strangers high-fiving each other and having a good laugh.  

I don't think any other Grand Prix has had such powerful permeation into the lives of the target globally.  And it's important to mention here that the campaign only saw the light of day because DDB Chicago presented it directly to the chairman of Anheuser-Busch. No brand manager would have had the cojones to run it. Can you imagine if they had tried to put it into research?"

Credits (courtesy

Advertiser: Anheuser Busch
Product: Budweiser
Entrant Company: DDB, Chicago
Country: USA
Year: 2000
Award: Grand Prix

Campaign India