Welcome to West Kensington, where I worked for the past few years. There’s nothing glamorous about this neighbourhood, but it’s also not a bad place to put an ad agency. Located at the London end of the M4, it’s one of London’s prime outdoor advertising venues.
I thought I’d throw this one online because I liked the way these two adverts contrast each other. On the right, in white we have Stella Artois with their “A Cut Above” campaign. Golden visuals, elegant layout, and something of the 1990s Boddingtons ads about it. It’s a new twist on a consistent idea: that Stella is a quality, even premium French product.
On the left in grey-green is Heineken, with the message “Rush hour” (the rush of the beer or something to rush home for?). Even after I’d managed to decipher this I was still confused – I’ve never associated Heineken with a “rush”. I’m not even sure what I associate them with: their identity is as watery as their beer.
Side by side it’s seems pretty clear which brand has a personality, and which doesn’t. The question is, does it matter? In terms of taste, there’s not much in it: mainstream lagers don’t vary wildly in terms of flavour. But when it comes to character, I’ve got some affection for Stella. They continue to run entertaining adverts on TV, styled on the Novelle Vague movement and their latest Quest campaign. I just like their style.
So as a non-lager drinker, I’m definitely more inclined towards a pint of Stella vs a one of Heineken. Let’s just hope it’s the same for the larger crowd.