With Mad Men entering the home stretch of its seven-season run, now is a good time to honor my favorite Stella Artois commercials by Mother London. The AMC show debuted in 2007 and the Mother work launched in 2009; I started noticing both at more or less the same time, around early 2009. It’s hard to say if the ads have been capitalizing on the popularity of the show because they’re drawing from the same well of inspiration.
In any case, here’s the best over the years.
This commercial for the Stella Artois 4% brand essentially features a French-speaking Don Draper of the early seasons, complete with slicked-back hair and light-grey suit. The end result of the male lead’s impromptu makeover, which transforms him from goofy to suave, is surprising yet cool.
This commercial, also for the Stella Artois 4% brand, essentially features a French-speaking James Bond of the Connery era, complete with bikini-clad beauty and wealthy-looking rival. The director is Bond…Fredrik Bond. Besides the slapstick fall, the most memorable part is the woman in the red sweater and white hat.
Compared to the others, this commercial is more contemporary in look and understated in tone. The woman might or might be Eva Green, but the director is definitely Wim Wenders. As much as I like the playful piano music and love the seaside hotel setting, this commercial seems more like an ad for the locale.
“Paper Boat” (2009)
This Stella Artois Light commercial looks and sounds like a movie from the early 1960s and has a playful-ridiculous twist. This one is unique because its hero doesn’t get the girl; his try-hard attempt to woo her is sabotaged. The director, Brian Buckley, is a commercial guru.
This one is my favorite, partly (totally) because of the stunning, green-eyed, auburn-haired woman whose name eludes the Worldwide Web. The 60-second version gives more context than the 30-second one. In the former, two men are calling her apartment from different bars; the latter doesn’t show the would-be suitors at all. The shorter version has animated, multi-panel effects whereas the longer version is more like a regular movie.
In both versions, shots of the woman preparing for the evening are paired with the symbolic equivalent of a bartender preparing a glass of Stella Artois. “Ne Me Laisse Pas L’aimer” by Brigitte Bardot is the icing on the proverbial cake. The tagline “She is a thing of beauty” is still in use several years later, though it’s become more of a general slogan. The director of this gem is Noam Murro.