Stella Artois is one of the original flagship beer brands in the portfolio of the global giant now known as AB InBev, dating back to when that company was still the Belgian brewery Interbrew. Although it was overtaken as the company's biggest beer by volumes in 2005, it was generally regarded as InBev's most important product prior to the acquisition of Budweiser and was the vanguard for expansion into multiple new international markets. Nevertheless, the UK has long been its most important market by far, and it was here, under licensee Whitbread, that Stella's "reassuringly expensive" brand personality was first established. This was cemented during the 1990s by a long-running and multiple award-winning campaign by Lowe London, inspired originally by French movie classic Jean de Florette. Lowe resigned the account in 2008 after part of the business was redirected to rival Mother, and though the new agency's ads continued to flirt successfully with French style and culture, sales of Stella itself came under some pressure. Some of these problems were resolved with variant products, not least a Stella "cidre", which proved enormously popular for several years. Weaker performance in some of the brand's original markets were later offset by further expansion into new territories through AB InBev's now extensive global presence. The range of variants differs from country to country. Cidre is marketed in most important markets. Other regional variants include limited editions Stella Artois Solstice and dark malt Stella Artois Midnight Lager, and an alcohol-free version. More recently, Stella's UK sales have rebounded. It was the top-selling take-home beer in the UK in 2019, with retail sales of £585m, and also the the top-selling premium lager in British pubs. Ironically, one of Stella's weakest global markets is actually its home country of Belgium, where sales have steadily declined since the 1990s. AB InBev's top-seller here is sister lager Jupiler. Richard Oppy is VP, global brands at AB InBev with responsibility for Stella Artois as well as Budweiser, Corona and Michelob. Benjamin Pauker is global brand director for Stella Artois.
Capsule checked 15th May 2020
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Historical profile information for Stella Artois
Adbrands Daily Update 8th Jul 2020: "The Life Artois". We should probably celebrate the new global campaign for Mother London for Stella Artois, but it's hard to disguise the fact that this is a brand badly in need of a new advertising concept. All credit to Mother for soldiering on, but it's hard to watch the new spot and not think back to such past glories as Lowe's multiple "reassuringly expensive" masterpieces and Mother's own past work for the brand. The distinctive character that ran through all of Mother's work for Stella for an entire decade from 2008 has been definitively watered down over the course of the past two years in favour of a global "Euro-pudding" concept that can appeal to all international markets equally. The animation here is nice enough but so very very bland, just like the kitschy storyline and tritely unimaginative choice of 'La Vie en Rose' for the soundtrack. Shame.
Adbrands Social Media 10th Jul 2019: "Summer Like You're On Vacation". Idris Elba makes an excellent front man - there are few better at to-camera patter - which is probably why he seems to spend more time making ads than movies or TV drama these days. Perhaps he's just killing time while he waits for the James Bond gig to free up... (If only...) Here he lends his likeable and expansive presence to Stella Artois in a playful, if slightly confusing, film by VaynerMedia.
Adbrands Social Media 28th Jan 2019: "Change Up The Usual". The internet went slightly crazy over the weekend when Jeff Bridges hinted that his beloved 'Big Lebowski' character The Dude would be making a surprise reappearance at the Super Bowl. But for whom? That was the question. Turns out he's having a date of sorts with Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie from 'Sex & The City' - we already knew she would be turning up from earlier teasers. Forget their two signature drinks of a Cosmopolitan and a White Russian; it's Stella Artois all round. Mother New York plays matchmaker, having successfully cornered more than its fair share of the general Super Bowl conversation on social media over the past few days. The spot itself is a touch meh, but the idea at least is cute.
Adbrands Social Media 18th Apr 2018: "Pockets". We probably just woke up on the stupid side of the bed this morning because we don't actually understand Mother's latest for Stella Artois. We love its thoroughly Gallic charm, and its typically oddball characterisations, but we're not sure how pockets fit in to the whole scheme of things. Never mind, it'll probably come to us later. Mother is hoping to reignite its long incumbency on the Stella account with the creation of "Le Village", where all the beer's ads will be set for the forseeable future. It's a challenge coming up with new ideas on an account you've held for a decade, but if anyone can do it, it's probably Mother.
Adbrands Weekly Update 7th July 2016: Ads of the Week: "Never Heard Of It". Mother's new campaign for Stella Artois (or "Ach-tois" according to that barman) is fun, ramping up the knockabout comedy that first emerged in the recent "Sebastien Artois" legacy spot. Some of these vignettes are very cute, especially that one with Charlie Darwin and his pal. The ad also successfully kills two birds with one stone, highlighting the brand's long-established connections to British Tennis. If we have a complaint, it is that we were heartily sick of hearing the "Never Heard Of It" slogan by the end of 60 seconds, and hope never to hear of it again. Fat chance.
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