Ammirati snares status-seekers for Stella

Awards: ...


• Best use of magazine (runner-up)

• Best use of newspaper (runner-up) (tie)

Agency/media company: Ammirati Puris

Client: Oland Specialty Beer Company

Brand: Stella Artois

Media team: Jasper Chan, media supervisor, Robert Perri, media planner, Jason Leung, media assistant

Media budget: More than $1 million

Media used: Out-of-home, magazine, film, newspaper

Timing: April to December, 2000


The goals of this campaign were to assert the credentials of Stella Artois as the premium import lager, encourage more people to try the brand for the first time and build market share.

Ammirati had a limited media budget to work with, given its difficult task of making Stella stand out in the highly competitive beer markets of Toronto and Ottawa. The assignment was made even more difficult by the fact that several premium imports were already well entrenched in both markets.

As well, the campaign had to go after both beer drinkers and buyers for bars and pubs, to ensure that distribution increased as consumer awareness grew.


The strategy was to identify the target and then zero in on where those consumers work and play. It was decided that Stella would appeal most to ‘status-seeking’ beer drinkers willing to spend a bit more for a premium import. To reach this target, Ammirati devised a four-pronged approach anchored by a plan to surround the target with outdoor in key districts. This was supported by magazine bar profiles, a newspaper tie-in to the Toronto International Film Festival and movie trailers.

Street media was the backbone of the outdoor plan. Five outdoor formats were used in all, including sidewalk chalk art, massive wall murals, superboards and transit shelters. The use of such a diverse range of media allowed Stella to dominate the financial and theatre districts in Toronto. Outdoor was also strategically placed around key bars and pubs where the beer was already being sold or where the client wanted it to be sold. The sheer concentration of the ads in selected areas worked to give the brand ‘big player’ status and stand out from the clutter.

The magazine component was designed to both support the outdoor and drive distribution to bars, pubs and restaurants. Ammirati selected leading business, men’s fashion and entertainment publications for the campaign. Along with running full-page ads, the publications created profiles of local bars or restaurants that served Stella.

This helped stretch media dollars because not only were the profiles created as added-value by the magazines, but they were also used by Stella Artois sales reps as a merchandising tool to reinforce distribution. The magazine component further contributed to the marketing objectives of trial and volume by offering other opportunities and events for Stella Artois to be served.

The media team knew that the Toronto International Film Festival would be a great place to find status-seeking beer drinkers, so the next component focused on reaching them through newspaper and transit shelters. Ammirati recognized that the alternative weekly NOW traditionally offers comprehensive coverage of the festival, so a special eight-page co-branded film festival insert was created for the festival issue. The insert was completely owned by the brand and included a map of where readers could find a cold Stella Artois waiting for them after a hard night of viewing films.

A last-minute opportunity was identified to reproduce this map in transit shelters that movie-goers would pass on their way out from theatres and point them to establishments serving Stella. The printing and posting of these maps was done in less than 24 hours and ran for 10 days during the festival.

Furthering the tie-in to film, Ammirati also placed cinema spots in movies that appealed to status-seeking drinkers throughout the summer.


Brand awareness scores significantly increased in the Toronto and Ottawa markets. And here’s the kicker: Sales for Stella Artois grew by an outstanding 400%.