Why Stella Artois is going big on mobile video

Stella Artois

When Stella Artois vp Harry Lewis is reviewing a creative, he doesn’t want surround sound or 4K video. Instead, he’ll watch it on his smartphone. That’s because it’s precisely how most people are going to end up experiencing the creative: As TV viewership stagnates, mobile video is on the up. ZenithOptimedia forecasts daily consumption to grow by 19 percent this year.

“We can see how much time our customers are spending on mobile,” he said. “The phone is as important as their right arm, and we want to plug right into that arm.” Lewis said 67 percent of pageviews on Stella Artois’ website have come from mobile users since January.

Stella Artois is not alone. With branded video content now crowding the newsfeed, Lewis says Stella Artois is working against both “brands and time.” Here’s how it’s planning to differentiate.

Educational content
As part of its global expansion, Belgian owner AB InBev is banking on Stella Artois to fend off the wave of craft beers now favored by young, beardy types.

Its Ascot and Wimbledon sponsorships, alongside its social responsibility drives, have been part of the lager’s push to assert itself as a premium, aspirational brand. It’s always “Stella Artois,” never “Stella” – which is tied with its associations with mid-2000s binge drinking.

According to Lewis, the brand is using video to push “educational” content to its millennial target audience. For example, glossy how-to videos around the nine-step pouring ritual all drinkers should follow.

It’s also about tapping into the brand as a “heritage” choice, with content around the history of its founder, Sebastian Artois, and the way it is made.

“For us, the reach is No. 1. But beyond that, we want our audience to spend more time with the brand, creating this deeper relationship,” Lewis said.

Facebook Live
The brand is also looking to Facebook Live’s real-time video to engage with consumers. As the medium lends itself to the Q&A format and how-to videos, it’s starting out by collaborating with up-and-coming chefs and bartenders for fan-led interviews.

There will also be behind-the-scenes footage with coverage of Stella Artois’ experiential events, including its mammoth summer party, Le Savoir, in August.

Here, users will get to see behind-the-scenes at the pop-up which will feature edible walls and performances from Cirque de Soleil. As a test-and-learn exercise, there’s still room for new ideas – it’s a matter of seeing what works.

It helps to be an early partner, Lewis said, as Facebook is keen to promote its new feature and those using it. “We get prime real estate on the timeline because Facebook is pushing us there themselves,” he said.

Touchable video
Touchable video (aka shoppable video) has primarily been tested by retailers like Asos and Ted Baker. “Right now, the best examples are in fashion and beauty,” Lise Pinnell, head of strategy at agency We Are Social, told Digiday. “Brand storytelling married with direct response is incredibly powerful,” she said.

Stella Artois is rolling the technology into its video strategy, but rather than driving sales, it will use the tool to promote more of its lifestyle-focused content.

Hosted on the platform Cinematique, it has created a video series, Legacy Hosts, which tells the stories of great hosts including master brewer Sebastian Artois and culinary wizards Bompas & Parr. Viewers can click on different objects in the video as it plays to uncover more content from the brand.

The videos will be released on its site and social media channels on Aug. 1.


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