The Artois Four-merly Known As Wife Beater

It’s understandable that, when your brand becomes synonomous with sweaty, white-vested, sunburnt wife beaters, you might want to change tack.

The newest Stella Artois Four ad paints Stella not as the favoured tipple of Glaswegian council estates and Alcoholics Anonymous conventions, but as a sophisticated french-speaking hops’n’barley smoothie.

It’s a lovely French street in the sixties (they’ve clearly just nailed some European shutters to the Hovis village), and some rustic piano loaders are getting on with their piano loading. But look, a fit bird! Oops, there goes the piano. MERDE! It’s rolling down the hill! After a lot of ooh-la-laing, the humble piano loader ends up coiffed, glass of Stella in hand (note: NOT a pint), getting off with a fit bird. Not the same fit bird from earlier though, because ‘e iz so frunche.

Perhaps they’re targeting men that go to wine bars, or men that want to be Mark Ronson. Or French men. Or people who think that wearing head-to-toe tailored white gives them an edge. It’s hard to tell.

Since guidelines from the pesky Advertising Standards Authority now dictate that alcohol adverts must be almost impossibly evocative, you can see why Stella’s ad team may have been stumped. Selling a product without being able to explcitly suggest the actual selling point – it makes you really pissed – can be a drag.

Maybe they should just embrace the stereotype – Stella, if you’re reading, picture this: a rainy day in East Kilbride. Inside a small, sticky-carpeted pub Morrissey croons “Last night I dreamt… that somebody loved me,” from the jukebox. A man and woman sit opposite each other, not making eye contact. The man cradles a pint of Stella. He reaches out a hand to touch the woman, but she recoils. She looks toward the camera, we see a tear run down her cheek. Fade to Black.