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WRITER, CONSULTANT AND BROADCASTER SPECIALISING IN BEER, PUBS AND CIDER. BEER WRITER OF THE YEAR 2009 AND 2012

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Sunday, 9 November 2008

Is that the sound of nails being hammered into a coffin?

No, it’s the new TV ad for Stella Artois 4, the new 4% ABV addition to the Artois range of beers (not to be confused with Peeterman Artois, the, um, recent 4% ABV addition to the Artois range of beers).

I really, really don’t want this blog to turn into http://www.ihatestellaartois.com/ – that would be at least as boring for me as it would be for you. But they just keep doing things that make my jaw drop, and not in a good way.

When the ad came on my TV on Friday night I hadn’t seen it before or heard anything about it. Until the resolution where the brand is introduced, right at the end of the 40-second spot, I honestly believed I was watching a new ad for Lynx – the deodorant specifically targeted at teenage virgins who masturbate furiously to pictures of recent Big Brother contestants in Zoo and Nuts magazines.

Maybe this was intentional – a watered-down beer targeting the consumers of watered-down porn – but I doubt it.

Officially the ad has a James Bond theme. The campaign is set on the French Riviera. (Confusingly, while the entire dialogue is in French, the final bar call is for “une Stella Artois Four”, the number being the only English word used. Why?) While the plot may be Lynx-lite, the tone and feel are sub-Peroni: five years ago, Peroni was shamelessly stealing art-directional cues from Stella Artois. Now, too, that’s reversed.

One final thought: given that the whole launch of Stella Artois Four is aimed at helping Stella lose the ‘wifebeater’ tag, isn’t it a bit ill-judged that the whole plot is driven by the threat of physical violence meted out by one man to another who has been messing with his bird?

It’s fascinating watching the sheer velocity with which this brand is imploding.

10 comments:

Jeff said...

InBev are very keen to sell the 4% Stella to me, however it won't be released to most pubs until next year. Which is a bit silly, as they've already started promoting it heavily.

Jeff Pickthall said...

It's like watching the last days of the McCain campaign - it's going nowhere.

Bailey said...

The ad is very nicely made -- the film is graded to look exactly like proper 1960s stock, a little after the manner of this very amusing Bond spoof.

I think they're trying to say: Stella 4% is perfect for people who like shit beer, but think they're cleverer than Carling drinkers because they've seen a few old French films.

It'll be on sale in the bars of Picturehouse cinemas before the year is out, I bet...

Jeffrey said...

I've just seen the ad for the first time. I agree the Stella brand is imploding, but the ad wasn't as bad as all that.

As for recent Big Brother contestants - it depends which ones. I like Imogen Thomas.

Mario (Brewed for Thought) said...

Jeff, welcome to Anheuser Busch's impact on InBev.

Pete, and what would you suggest we do with our copies of Zoo and Nuts?

The Beer Nut said...

"Stella Artois Oven"? Sounds delish...

Jeffrey said...

Mario, I don't think A-B will impact on InBev. A-B was bought out by InBev, not the other way around.

Ignis said...

With the deal between InBev and A-B not being closed yet, it's highly unlikely this would be A-B's impact on InBev.
It's more like the InBev marketing guys desperately trying something (no clue what they are trying and I'm pretty sure they don't know either) and producing something terrible as a result.

Greg Clow said...

InBev launched this beer very loudly in Canada this past summer under the name Stella Artois Légère.

The main brand is still fairly popular here (or seems to be, anyway, based on the number of bars and restaurants that have it on), but the Légère doesn't seem to have caught on quite as well, at least based on it's lack of presence at bars. (Or at least, at the bars I tend to go to - perhaps it's a big hit at the sort of places that would never let me in because I'm too old and/or ugly.)

Did they ever launch SA Nobilis over there? It's essentially a Deus/Kasteel knock-off that came out here in Canada last winter. Amusingly, my less-than-positive review of it is the number one hit when you Google "Stella Artois Nobilis", which must piss them off greatly.

impymalting said...

I have to confess Stella's ads fly under my radar-- never seem to catch my eye, with the exception of their recent billboard campaign on the tube which featured a pastiche of early 60's "continental fun in the sun" featuring bouffanted beauties at the seashore holding a glass of yellow beer. Have you seen these? They are actually beautiful posters. Suddenly I was being addressed! I still have never had a stella to my knowledge so it didn't entirely work.