Stella Artois Makes Music to Entertain

The Life Artois

Stella Artois


Music and advertising have a long and rich history. If you grew up in the 80s, for instance, you’ll have regularly seen older tunes become massive hits because they were featured in ads for the likes of Levis, Heineken (or, er, the California Raisins). It was a mutually profitable relationship – the ads brought tunes to a new audience; the tunes meant that ideas of cool and style rubbed off onto the ads, and helped them create a sense of place and cultural resonance too.

The new Stella Artois campaign “The Life Artois” doesn’t use a well-known record – instead it’s a new, jazzy arrangement of “La Vie En Rose” – it has some of that old school vibe, taking the mystery and power of music and using it to make an ad that bit cooler, with its lead character being a trumpet player whose tune drifts across a city at evening and reaches a lonely woman.

On paper it’s corny – and honestly? On the screen it’s a little bit corny too. But that doesn’t matter, because the ad commits to its feeling and its aesthetic so strongly. The clean-lined, retro art direction for the animation fits the Chet Baker-style cool jazz trumpet playing perfectly, making for a harmony of vision and sound with strong right-brain appeal. The spot, by Mother, is part of a wider series of multi-channel executions based around “The Life Artois”, all of which run with the European feel of the art.

Whether the choice of animation was tactical – it’s a good pandemic option – strategic, or a little of both, it’s an artistic success. The ad’s impressive, imaginative, and, yes, you might say it has that je ne sais quoi – but how good is it? Happily, it’s very good – a strong 4.1-Star score showing the ad has long-term legs, and a terrific 1.5 Spike (with high Brand Fluency) suggesting it should sell a good few beers too. It’s great to see an ad which feels like it’s built around a mood, rather than a message, and great to see it resonate so well with the public, too.