Once upon a time it was said that celebrities who wanted to make money shilling product were required to go to Japan to do it. It was considered poor taste and reflective that the actor’s career was in the tank if they tried it in America. This is the entire plot point of Lost in Translation (which remains among my favorite movies) where a washed up Bill Murray heads out there to hock Nippon whiskey.
Well, those days are long, long over. Soon it’ll be no big deal to see a celebrity promoting a vacuum cleaner. I don’t really care either way, I hate most celebrities anyways and so couldn’t care less how they earn their coin. But it’s directly applicable to the point of this post which is to assault the lies of Stella Artois.
During this last Super Bowl the viewer got to see Carrie Bradshaw and The Dude drinking Stella. The idea that The Dude drinks anything other than white russian is bullshit, but I digress. Now they’ve dragged out Idris Elba to push the beer. A guy who would have made a great 007, but turned it down, is now reduced to pushing this cheap beer. What a loser. Doesn’t he already have enough boats?
The general idea of the ad campaign is that Stella is fancy, a sophisticated way to poison your body by ingesting a toxin known as alcohol. The most emphatic scenes in these commercials are the ones where they show dressed up rich people swilling Stella at the original 1926 Christmas party. And there’s multiple shots where Stella poured from the tap foams over and requires the use of a foam knife.
I laughed out loud at the foam knife part. For those who don’t know, in the old days draft beer typically came in barrels. Before the age of refrigeration these barrels basically sat at room temperature. With warm beer, when the carbon dioxide was exposed you got a ton of foam into the mug. So barkeeps needed the foam knife to get rid of all this extra foam. To the modern drinker, this warm beer would have tasted skunked or funky due to the poor overall carbonation of the end product.
Only later when keeping beer cool became widespread did this practice disappear because it was no longer required. It’s why you don’t see bartenders using foam knives today, unless they’re tapping a firkin. So while it looks fancy (in theory) what Stella is basically saying in these commercials is that they prefer Stella warm at room temperature, at poor quality, and skunked out. You can even reinforce this trend by buying the Stella foam knife on Amazon (I’m not joking) so that you too can dispense warm, poor quality beer to your guests.
Stella is a mainstay European beer and has been for decades. Only recently has the goal changed to sell it widely in America. In 2008, Stella got wrapped up in the creation of the AB InBev behemoth creation which probably now sells half the beer on the planet. Sometime later somebody at InBev was probably like, hey we can sell Stella to dumb Americans and pass it off as real swanky Euro beer.
Now I’m one who truly believes there is no actual bad beer. I’ll drink just about anything. But there are certainly beers that aren’t good, and Stella’s one of them. It’s basically just Europe’s Bud or Miller. There’s nothing special about it. Except the advertising campaign that says so. That and the stupid (and entirely unnecessary) tulip glass that they always show it in.
So is this scam working on the American people? No shocker here: Yes! From 2010-2015, Stella sales more than doubled in America. Today Stella remains one of the country’s fastest growing beers. It’s why you see it and those stupid tulip glasses in almost every bar now. And you better believe they’re not charging you Bud or Miller prices for Stella. Nope! You’re paying extra for that ultra-fancy Euro beer, fools.
The Giant Octopus is very wise and aggressive. I wonder how many Americans know that Stella is owned by InBev, or what InBev even is? Or that in Europe Stella is basically Bud? Hell, I doubt most Americans even know that Bud is foreign owned. But basically it worked, Stella’s blatant advertising lies have made a ton of gold for them. So, sadly, I guess the conclusion of this post is once again that we’re all doomed.
In general, society’s just not smart enough (or doesn’t care enough) and is happy to be manipulated and lead around on a leash by the Giant Octopus, straight to the bar, to hand over its cash without coherent thought. Doomed! [sigh]