World’s best ads ever #65: Stella Artois gets cinematic treatment in ‘Jacques de Florette’
We asked our readers to vote for their favorite commercials of all time. Top creatives from the World Creative Rankings and The Drum’s Judges’ Club then ranked the ads. Now, we bring you the definitive 100 best TV and video ads of all time.
Lowe was Stella Artois’s agency for 26 years, starting when Sir Frank Lowe set up his own shop in the early 80s. From 1982 to 2007, all of the lager maker’s communications in the UK centered around the ‘Reassuringly Expensive’ strapline – a beautifully bold campaign that looked to reframe its higher price point as a positive.
While Lowe’s early iterations were mainly in print (such as the clever ‘“My shout”, he whispered’), it was its series of mini-epics – which ran from 1991 to 2001 and parodied French cinema – that really secured Stella’s place in advertising’s history books.
The first of these beautifully shot spots was ‘Jacques de Florette’, which created the blueprint for many much-anticipated future installments (including ‘Devil’s Island’, which you’ll also find on this list). All the hallmarks are there: cinematic treatment from a reassuringly expensive cinematographer (in this instance Michael Seresin, who had by then worked on Midnight Express and Bugsy Malone); French dialogue that didn’t quite require subtitles; and a humorous plot twist that made sure that strapline stuck in our heads.
Who among us can hear a harmonica play the first few notes of that soundtrack (borrowed, of course, from the Jean de Florette and Manon des Source films) without picturing an ice-cold pint?