Stella Artois is upping the stakes in its bid to make the brand the sophisticates' bewitching cold brew of choice.
AB Inbev has been slyly repositioning the brand with a Sixties-style Euro tongue-in-chic campaign. Now, it’s getting ready to roll out its stylish branding on an even bigger stage, as it gets ready to add a “premium-plus” brand.
This summer, Stella Artois rolled out a campaign shot by 60s icon Bert Stern, famed for his work with Marilyn Monroe. It echoes his Bardotesque 1960 Vogue cover. With the tagline, "She is a thing of beauty," the eye-catching image has been used in print and billboards.
The understated image campaign for Stella Artois 5%, which is running through August, is complimented with a commercial, La Preparation:
To be sure, it's in using video that the AB InBev-owned brand has truly captured the mood of the era and brand values it's trying to evoke.
The "Thing of Beauty" poster and TV commercial, running through the end of August, are the “first elements of a broader, global campaign” the brand is rolling out this year, according to an InBev spokesperson.
"The campaign takes as its cues Stella Artois’ nine-step pouring ritual, and compares the ritual and presentation of Stella Artois with that of a beautiful woman, and shows the quality and care that go into both."
Working with Mother London, last year Stella took home a gold at the 2009 Cannes Lion advertising awards for 8 Kilometres, a beautifully shot black-and-white short that's a dead ringer for the cinema of the era and the brand's penchant for Riviera chic.
(Also noteworthy: the two companion videos, both in color, called 24 hrs and Dial Hard, respectively.)
The brand's YouTube channel is a showcase for another B&W nod to 60s Gallic culture, this time that of French television.
The time: 1963. Your host: Alain du Monde, who's in love with Mother Nature and entertaining a gaggle of jetsetters who also embrace green living.
Instead of YouTube, it's Le Toube. And years before "carbon footprint" and eco-chic became chic, these time-travelers tout environmental issues before their time.
Besides the color green, why would Stella tout eco-green? The Recyclage de Luxe variety show is presented inside the brand's new lightweight bottle, for the "most carbon efficient television show of the 1960s."
Not content to rest on those laurels, Stella has just commissioned Oscar-winning film director Wim Wenders to shoot its latest video to bring to life the "She's a thing of beauty" tagline.
Now with a mid-1960s flair, the spot is an ode to all the objects lovingly named by men, ending with — of course — Stella itself.
InBev just named a new U.K. marketing chief, James Watson, who will be tasked with helping the brand capture more upmarket drinkers with a premium label, Stella Artois Black.
Marketing Week UKwrites that it will be a "premium-plus" addition ("complete with bespoke font, glassware and a reverential pouring ritual") to its current 4% and 5% offerings, available in limited distribution later this year.
The magazine also notes that the "brewer has spent a number of years trying to shake off negative perceptions of the Stella brand and its segmentation with Stella Artois 4% has helped work towards this goal."
With a tagline of "Matured for longer," Stella Artois Black may also, apparently, "be the first in a series of variants launched by the brewer."
With an ABV of 4.9%, it will be slightly less alcoholic than the original 5% lager, but also darker. Its branding, featuring white text on a black background, is also designed to appeal to 20- to 30-year-olds seeking a more sophisticated beer.
It may also be more brooding. AB InBev president Stuart MacFarlane has said that the lager is likely to be consumed during "down-tempo, reflective" occasions.
"A twenty-something consumer has grown up with six or seven different types of Coca-Cola," he commented. "They have grown up in a world where you can have one brand that stands for different occasions and different flavour profiles. Why can't we do what Coke did?"
With Mother handling the creative and new marketer Watson at the helm, we can't wait to see what Stella comes up with to wow us next.
I am a beer enthusiast in the U.S. and I am willing to pay a premium. I try new brands often and enjoy a wide range of tastes. Stella may succeed but I will not buy it. their extreme premium price is not warranted by the taste. just not worth it. and I resent Stella's hauty brand messages of the recent past. too obvious. not nearly subtle enuf. makes me think they think American beer drinkers willing to pay a premium price are fools.
Rob Bartlett, President, Bartlett:creative - July 31, 2010
Stella is brewed under licence here in Australia but still charged out at an imported price. If they think it tastes like the original then they are very sadly mistaken.I will try the new brew but only if it is imported. I have had a gutfull of paying through the nose for European brands brewed locally. Most of the people I know feel the same way.So Stella get some serious market research done out where it counts to find out if your new brew will be a success here in Oz before you launch.
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