Lowe London makes pact with the Devil for Stella

Adland: 

Advertising in general has been 'safe' for a long time after the economic downturn, still Lowe London have a great client that wants to move in to a darker area - Stella Artois. Interbrew asked Lowe to move in this direction after research showed Stella consumers would like a touch of the macabre. Read more to see the result.

Dutch photographer Olaf Veltman got the gig of depicting Lucifer, played by actor Anthony Acker, signing up some souls for that reassuringly expensive beer. Veltmans moody lighting and painterly style suits the gig perfectly, and anyone with an eye for details can spot signs from the dark side in each shot.

In the Stella Office: For instance, in the office there are butterflies - a symbol of souls in many cultures -pinned in frames on the wall and the framed painting is Eugène Delacroix's Faust and Mephistopheles. The office windows form upside down crosses.

Stella Crossroads: In this scene, the road sign reads "Devil's Peak: Fifteen Miles." The telephone poles form three crosses. There are black ravens on the telephone wires. Notice that you still can't see the Devils feet, or rather hooves.

Those who want to play spot the signs from the dark side on the real size ads can pick up issues of Clash, Another Magazine, and Pop in July or wait until August when the campaign moves into mags like Esquire, and Arena.

Comments (12)

  • Goodbye's picture
    Goodbye

    I like them a lot ! Symbolism will always rule - subtext is king !
    How many are there - there must be four - or seven !

    Jun 11, 2004
  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    There are at least three - in the third he's at an airport by a hangar. The plane in the background reads "Inferno cargo."

    Jun 11, 2004
  • James_Trickery's picture
    James_Trickery

    There has to be seven, you are absolutely right Goodbye. Anything less is just wrong:

    Jun 11, 2004
  • aiiobo's picture
    aiiobo

    Reminds me a little of the the understated black and white moody John Player Specials ads of the late eighties.

    Jun 11, 2004
  • AnonymousCoward's picture
    AnonymousCoward (not verified)

    i like the subtle approach, but i wonder how aware stella's consumer base will be of the concept when glancing through magazines. is this part of a larger coordinated campaign to suggest evil and the devil?

    Jun 15, 2004
  • Neo's picture
    Neo

    Well, Stella in the UK have been running with the line reassuringly expensive for what... a good number of years now, since the 80s anyway. So, one no longer needs to say the line - and what is worth more than your soul? The image itself makes you think of their old line.

    Jun 17, 2004
  • CopyWhore's picture
    CopyWhore

    Interesting, this.

    But it's hard to tell whether this is a bunch of self-indulgent twaddle, or if it's really a subversive campaign that makes us love Stella for being brave...

    I fear that while symbolism works well in the world of art, it asks too much of an advertising audience who isn't waiting to figure out telephone poles as crosses, and the absence of feet.

    In other words, this seems an awfully complicated homage to something most people will never figure out. Too esoteric...

    Jun 18, 2004
  • Neo's picture
    Neo

    That probably sums up why UK (print) ads are miles better than US ads - no offence. Stellas punters aren't lost, they're treated like they are smart and schooled enough to get it. Even references to art rather than TV-shows. And they do.

    Jun 18, 2004
  • AnonymousCoward's picture
    AnonymousCoward (not verified)

    "Part of a bigger campaign" is more like it:

    Just seen the office ad in situ, on the page after is a web address www.whatisthecontract.com

    Go to that and enter a huge and subtle web campaign littered with implicit references to Stella and imagery/symbols from the ads.

    Jul 15, 2004
  • AnonymousCoward's picture
    AnonymousCoward (not verified)

    this one:

    http://www.marlowedigital.com

    Nice Lowe tie-in, what with Marlowe being writer of ye olde soul selling play, Dr. Faustus

    Jul 16, 2004
  • kamari's picture
    kamari

    I really liked the print ads. but the websites aren't really doing anything for me. Someone has had a lot of fun with the copy though, I'll give them that.

    Oct 05, 2004

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Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.