Monday, August 23


I enjoy a good ad. And one that I've seen a few times now, and that I'm liking more and more each time, is for Stella Artois beer.

Starts with some WW1 troops arriving home to a small French village. A bruised, battered, injured young soldier is gregariously greeted by the community, especially his loving father, who owns a tavern. Along with the young man is another soldier, who appears to be a stranger to the town. Both look like they've been through a World War One hell.

All the dialogue is in French, so (unless one speaks French) one kind of pieces together what's going on. As they all triumphantly gather in the tavern, the young man tells the adventure of how this other soldier singlehandedly saved the young man. The other soldier appears to be a humble sort.

The father, overcome with emotion, demands a toast to the two soldiers, and pours them wine.

"No, papa," says (in French) the young man. "This deserves Stella Artois". (or to that affect) The father is ever-so-subtly, slightly taken aback, and with a barely-reluctant nod, agrees. It is apparent that the other soldier is greatly anticipating this drink.

The father pulls a draught of Stella Artois into a big glass and joyously hands it to his son. Everyone cheers. The father gives the other soldier a look and puts another glass under the tap. Pulls the handle and nothing but foam spurts out.

Apologizing, the father says they're all out of Stella Artois, and the other soldier looks lost.

Cut to under the bar, and we see the father take his foot off the hose that leads to the beer tap. He had deliberately stopped the flow of beer for the second glass.

As everyone, except the other soldier, excitedly continues on, the Stella Artois end-tag picture comes up.


I love this ad for a few reasons. First that it expects its audience to be able to understand what is going on, even though it's in French. They don't resort to subtitles.

Also, I appreciate the subversiveness, with the father purposefully denying the soldier a drink.

It trusts that the audience will pay attention enough to make the (slight) effort it takes to understand the concept.

Good ad.

1 comment:

christopher said...

Actually a whole family of this ad has been running for years in Europe, and probably the funniest (IMHO) is one where Van Gogh offers a painting (Sunflowers?)in exchange for the amber fluid - and, on reflection, is given just half a pint. The camera then pans to show every inch of the tavern walls covered by famous Impressionist paintings. Too funny, and again the dialogue is all in French. Unfortunately Stella Artois seems to have bottled out of using the UK payoff line - Stella Artois - Reassuringly Expensive.