Brewing brand Stella Artois traces its origins back to 1366 but doesn’t wish to be considered old-fashioned. Hence they’ve created a new ‘brand world’ to make the drink relevant to, and reflective of, a whole new generation.
If young people don’t see their lives reflected in a brand’s marketing, they’ll soon turn away. Stella Artois is keen to avoid that fate, and so it’s been working on building a new ‘brand world’ in partnership with global agency Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR).
To remain relevant, Stella Artois needed to evolve its brand to reflect a modern audience. While the brand had worked hard to build equity with food, dining had changed and become less formal, and the pandemic had revitalised people’s desire to meet up in person.
It paved the way for the concept of the ‘modern table,’ which was no longer a fixed address but simply wherever people gathered – a bench, a sofa, a stoop.
Concept and photography
To venture away from formal dining and engage with a youthful and spontaneous audience, the team at JKR created the idea of ‘moments of beauty around the table’, where high fashion is worn to late-night pizzerias, glamorous impromptu parties happen on rusting stairwells, and friends share seafood platters over cans of beer.
Photographer Cait Oppermann was brought on board to combine the self-expression and creativity of the fashion world with the warmth and connection of the beer world via cinematic image quality that elevates everyday locations through hyperreal colour.
“My background is in lifestyle and fashion photography,” explains Cait. “So it was an intriguing challenge to merge beer into that world in a way that felt diverse, modern and still unmistakably Stella Artois. A lot of work went into ensuring every shot had the same colour balance so that the combination of red, white and black became unique to the brand. During the photoshoot in Los Angeles, styling and composition were reviewed and tweaked constantly to ensure everything remained on brand.”
JKR also created a flexible design system alongside photography to make the brand fit for the future, designed to work consistently across every channel. It included a new horizontal logo, two new custom typefaces created with Pangram Pangram Foundry, a fresh colour palette and an overhauled packaging architecture and design.
“Building brand distinctiveness is central to what we believe as a business, so we jumped at the opportunity to redefine the Brand World for Stella Artois with this goal in mind,” says Sean Thomas, executive creative director at JKR. “One of the central tenets of this was finding a photographer who could help capture that vision, and it was clear that Cait Oppermann was the perfect choice because of her ability to elevate the everyday.
“The result is a new brand world for Stella Artois where high and low culture meet, and the self-expression and creativity of the fashion world seamlessly mesh with the warmth and connection of the beer world.”
“JKR has been a trusted partner to AB InBev for years,” adds Tim Ovadia, global vice president at Stella Artois. “They understand our brands intuitively. They brought this knowledge to the table as we worked together to build a distinctive brand world for Stella Artois to inform everything we do moving forward. The result is an elevated but more relevant and modern brand world that will help us reach a diverse audience and put us at the forefront of every beer occasion, big or small.”