Stella up to their usual tricks

A slick CGI image from the weasely new Stella ad
A slick CGI image from the weasely new Stella ad

The geniuses behind Stella Artois really are trying to convince us of the historical worth of their brew. A new advertising campaign on the telly makes lots of intriguing references to “1366”, obviously designed to suggest that this is when the beer originated.

A bit of digging around their website makes it clear that a brewery existed in Leuven in 1366… Apparently, thanks to the “courage” of some medieval monks, Stella Artois exists today. Er… If you dig around on their website, it’s quite clear that whatever happened in Leuven in 1366 has sweet Fanny Adams to do with Stella Artois.

The funny thing is that they keep making reference to the “four ingredients”. But which four? Is this the barley, hops, maize and water proudly boasted of in their billboards? If you go into their site, they have five (not four) mini-films to illustrate different “challenges” of brewing. Hops, water and barley get a mention, as does yeast (unlike in the billboards). The fifth challenge of brewing has nothing to do with making the beer, but is to do with exporting it.

Oddly, maize isn’t mentioned in these adverts. But it would be a bit tricky to square with this historical heritage angle, given it originated in Mesoamerica and therefore would have been unknown to the good burghers of Brabant in 1366.

I’m sorry, but this kind of mock historical bollocks really, really gets on my tits. Fortunately, the campaign is way too inconsistent to fool anyone.

NB – we’ve not linked to any of the Stella pages so as not to increase their presence on the interweb. You can find it for yourself if you have nothing better to do. But you really ought to have something better to do.

UPDATE 17/08/08: image added.

6 thoughts on “Stella up to their usual tricks”

  1. But Stella isn’t the only one really. Gambrinus wants to make everybody in CZ believe that they use the best quality ingredients to brew it, when we all know that is a cheaped down version of Pilsner Urquell.
    But the price has to go to Quilmes, the InBev minion from Argentina, and the biggest brewer there.
    Shortly ago they came out with two new beers and relaunched an old one. All trying to get on the trend of craft style beers. They are Quilmes Stout, Quilmes Red Lager and Quilmes Bock (this is the old one that got a facelift)
    The first one I call Marketing Stout. It’s bottom fermented and caramel extract is among the ingredients. I’m a bit of a style anarchist, but there is no way that can be called a stout. The other one is worse, in their press release it can be read in Spanish pretty much what follows:
    “Brewed with finely selected ingredients, with a mild aroma, delicate bitterness and creamy flavour. Quilmes Red Lager invites you to enjoy its quality and sofistication.”
    But that’s not it, it goes on like this:
    “Its copper red colour is the product of finely selected malts and the natural roasting of the barley tanins during the malting process”
    The press release goes on to tell us how great this beer is to pair with certain foods, yada yada yada….
    The funniest, or most pathetic, is that the beer is actually brewed by mixing a batch of Quilmes Bock and Quilmes Cristal (their light lager) together with some caramel extract. And that’s why I call this liquid, Quilmes Lefover Lager.
    I really laugh every time I read marketing rubbish like that, not only beer related. But then I realise that there are so many people out there that are hypnotised by this sort of bollocks, that’s when I almost want to cry….

  2. Pivní Filosof: don’t cry in yer beer, whatever you do. Waters it down too much. Just spit on the magazine you read all the marketing bollocks in. If it was web-based, just keep some Kleenexes handy for your gobbed-on screen. Gotta give those marketeers credit though. Just doing their job well 🙂 Be thankful that those of us with a modicum of ‘nous’ can see through their gonad-inspired promo- haze. Nice post BTW.

  3. “I’m sorry, but this kind of mock historical bollocks really, really gets on my tits.” I thought I was the only one that got irritated by this sort of thing.
    Trouble is if Stella told the truth about their beer no one would want to buy the stuff – wouldn’t that be good?

  4. I heard a good non-beer related one yesterday: a hair product claims to be “inspired by nature”. Meaning it’s not natural.

    Weasel words like “only the finest ingredients” are infuriating because they’re so meaningless.

    I’ve got quite a bit of faith in people’s ability to see through advertising in its shallowest form, though — even ‘ordinary folk’ who don’t have degrees in media and marketing. I think that’s evidenced by the folk myths that have arisen around Stella, despite their best efforts to crush them:

    1. It’s got weird chemicals in which give you hangovers.
    2. It’s not called Stella Artois — it’s called Wife Beater!
    3. It tastes much better in Belgium. The stuff we get here is a rubbish imitation of the real thing.

    That last one isn’t true in my experience, but it does show that most people in the UK aren’t buying this idea that Stella is a hand-crafted, premium lager that’s been brewed for centuries by the cast of Jean de Florette.

    They like it cos it gets them very drunk and actually *isn’t* that expensive.

  5. It certainly isn’t expensive – Peroni, which is one of the lager brands considered truly “premium” these days, is selling for as much as £4 a pint in London these days.

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