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.