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Stella Artois Starring Commercials

The university town of Leuven in Belgium is the birthplace of Stella Artois’ brewing heritage of more than 600 years.

In 1717 Sébastien Artois, a young Braumeister, purchased a brewery established in Leuven in 1366 called Den Hoorn, and renamed it Brouwerij Artois.

More than 200 years later and a convivial legacy of societal patronage, the Artois brewery in 1926 launched a festive season beer to be enjoyed by Leuven’s residents and named their Pilsner, Stella Artois after the symbolic ‘Christmas Star’.

To their delight, it became clear that their ‘star’ combination of Saaz hops, malted barley, maize, yeast and spring water, was destined for brewing greatness, and Stella Artois became a premium, all-seasons beer.

Fame and Fortune

Word of the pale lager’s full, distinctive taste, and the precise, 9-step pouring ritual that involved serving Stella Artois from a tap into an impressive, specially designed, glass chalice, spread beyond Leuven and Belgium’s borders to neighbouring, and cross-Channel countries, and to eventual fame and fortune.

Today the Artois Brewery is part of the Multinational Anheuser–Busch InBev organisation, and in their extensive portfolio of global brands, Stella Artois is their best-loved premium beer.

Lowe London’s Reassuringly Expensive Stella Artois

The long running, ‘Reassuringly Expensive’ Stella Artois communication campaign by Advertising Agency Lowe, London, was creatively inspired by the 1986 period film, Jean de Florette.

Directed by Claude Berri, the Marcel Pagnol authored story is set in rural Provence shorty after the 1st World War, and starred three of France’s most prominent actors. Gérard Depardieu, Daniel Auteuil and Yves Montand.

Between 1991 and 2002, Lowe London conceptualized several Jean de Florette genre commercials with award-winning dark humour that elevated Stella Artois’ premium beer stature to international brand prominence.

1. Stella Artois, Help a Restaurant

Advertising Agency: GUT, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Here and The Now.

At the last count, the Stella Artois public goodwill initiative to support local bars and restaurants during the COVID-19 crisis in Canada, Brazil, UK, Belgium, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Peru, South Africa, France, and Italy, raised over $2.5 million in the first three weeks of launch commencement.

The ‘Help a Restaurant’ campaign offers an optimistic take on a post- lockdown future, by creating an online platform where consumers can buy redeemable vouchers to their favourite local restaurants or bars, and not only will the purchase proceeds go directly to the businesses that have signed on, but Stella Artois will add an additional 50% to the value of each voucher.

2. Stella Artois, Good Doctor

Advertising Agency: Lowe Lintas & Partners, London, UK

Directed by Czech filmmaker Ivan Zacharias, the ‘Good Doctor’ was the seventh commercial in the Jean de Florette inspired campaign series.

The post-production process involved The Moving Picture Company grading three copies of the film stock separately to achieve the required grainy visual look and earthen tones of the subjects.

The ‘Good Doctor’ was the world’s most awarded campaign of 2002. Accolades included an award for Best Direction at the British Television Craft Awards, a Bronze Medal from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising Effectiveness Awards, a Gold Epica Award, a Silver D&AD Award, and a Gold Lion at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity.

3. Stella Artois, Devil’s Island

Advertising Agency: Lowe Lintas & Partners, London, UK

In 2003 the crafting talents of Copywriter Vince Squibb, creator of the ‘Good Doctor’ film scenario, were employed again in a Stella Artois commercial titled ‘Devil’s Island’, directed by Jonathan Glazer.

Vince tells the dramatic story of prisoner Didier, who has an amazing stroke of luck during a voyage to the infamous penal colony on Devil’s Island. However, there is a price to pay for his good fortune that paradoxically involves a stint in the ships solitary confinement lock-up.

4. Stella Artois, The Pilot

Advertising Agency: Lowe, London, UK

Directed by Czech filmmaker Ivan Zachariáš, the ‘Pilot’ commercial involves a cinematic scenario about a downed, First World War English pilot, seeking refuge in a nearby Belgium public house from a pursuing German officer and his troopers.

The dark humour of the multi award-winning commercial, which is brilliantly portrayed by a talented cast and superbly amplified by the dramatic use of ‘retro’ black and white footage, makes for impactful and memorable viewing.

5. Stella Artois, Ice Skating Priests

Advertising Agency: Lowe, London, UK

Directed by Jonathan Glazer and filmed in Poland with the Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 by Franz Liszt as the soundtrack, I consider the commercial to be a filmic masterpiece of storytelling and directing.

The commercial very effectively evokes the look and feel of the silent movie era with its characteristic camera angle variations and flat, uniform lighting.

6. Stella Artois, The Race

Advertising Agency: Lowe, London, UK

This ‘Do it for Papa’ story about two brothers in a vintage cycle race was directed by Dougal Wilson and filmed on the island of Majorca known in Spanish as Mallorca.

The painstaking attention to detail of the props and cycling gear of that era adds an enchanting feeling of authenticity that makes for rewarding viewing.

7. Stella Artois, Never Heard of It

Advertising Agency: Mother, London, UK

Andreas Nilsson directed Stella Artois’s Wimbledon Tennis Tournemant campaigin commercial with a lavish and colouful visual representation that takes viewers on fun journey back in time to Victorian England.

Part of the integrated campaign was the creation of the ‘Time Portal’ in London that provided a fully immersive theatre experience of transporting audiences back to Victorian London in search of the first Wimbledon Tournament.

8. Stella Artois, The Pockets

Advertising Agency: Mother, New York, USA

Andreas Nilsson directed ‘The Pockets’ commercial for the global marketing launch of the new Stella Artois selling line ‘Joie de Bière’ which is a clever play on the French phrase ‘Joie de Vivre’.

Filmed on location in the birthplace of Stella Artois in the Belgium town of Leuven in Dutch, and Louvain in French, the commercial is a fun encouragement to take a break from obsessive cellphone preoccupations to appreciate the joy of a truly good beer.

Part of the Stella Artois integrated campaign strategy is to promote an extra ‘happy hour’ as a ‘Don’t Rush Hour’ at selected bars and establishments’.

9. Stella Artois, Worth The Effort

Advertising Agency: Mother, London, UK

Stylishly directed by Joachim Back, the amusing story focus is on two bar tenders competing with each other to be the first to present beautiful young women with a perfectly poured Stella Artois.

The commercial is part of the ‘She’s a Thing of Beauty’ advertising campaign referring to the beauty of a perfectly poured Stella Artois in its elegant, specially crafted, trademark glass.

The soundtrack features the 1963 easy listening hit ‘Never On Sunday’ by Percy Faith.

10. Stella Artois, The Delivery

Advertising Agency: Mother, New York, USA

Directed by Hanna Maria Heidrich and filmed in Stella Artois’ hometown of Leuven in Belgium, ‘The Delivery’ is about celebrating the festive season with a beer that was originally brewed as a Christmas gift to the good people of Leuven.

Served in a specially crafted glass chalice, Stella Artois is tailor made for winter holiday good cheer like no other beer.