Stella Artois have tried to steer their brand image in a new direction using class, cool and the Cannes Film Festival. Stella have tailored a character to front their new campaign and dubbed him Jacques d’Azur – the ‘King of Cannes’. Jacques is a French film producer, director, actor, playboy and “people’s king”. Facebook pages (http://www.facebook.com/JacquesdAzur), YouTube videos and marketing materials associated with Cannes mentioned him as if he were real but rarely announced the brand upfront. Many people did indeed begin to beleive Jacques was a real man  This apparently famous individual had people on blogs, forums and social networking all asking the same question: “Who is Jacques d’Azur?”
After coming “across an undiscovered island” where “all the inhabitants are beautiful women,” our hero was not to be seen or heard from again. The campaign used sites such as YouTube (see below) to inform people that a French court has declared him legally dead and that his prestigious place at Cannes Film Festival which he has attended for years will now be issued to a mystery person from his will.
And here comes the clever part…
The site www.stellaartois.com/Cannes/website/index.php asks visitors to connect with Facebook and proceeds to display a video depicting the friends and relatives of Jacques d’Azur as they pick through his will looking for money, estates and, of course, his coveted place at Cannes Film Festival.
The video uses data from the visitors Facebook to fill in some of the blanks which make the video personalised. The attorney can be seen looking through a number of different pictures of people, all of which are the users Facebook friend’s display pictures. He finally comes across their own display picture and passes it around the room. Jacques family are all convinced this is the person who he would have left his place at Cannes to – they are even shown in Jacques family tree:
At the end of the personalised video, the user is asked to add their name to the will in order to go on and win a trip to Cannes Film Festival.
This was an interesting campaign that began by formally establishing a character and bringing them into reality with a various internet sites and, more commonly, videos posted on YouTube. Brilliantly, the campaign sponsored the renowned film blog ‘SlashFilm’ to attend the festival in exchange for them blogging about the competition. They also placed ad’s on the site for the competition as well as the product itself. By linking their campaign with a blog read by millions of film fanatics all over the world, Stella Artois managed to reach a very large but appropriate target audience.
Whilst it may seem extravagant and, perhaps, a little too detailed, Stella Artois has made this a key feature of it’s shift in brand image. Another example is this glorious advertisement by Mother London:
By using social media and online viral techniques to infiltrate consumers’ personal space, brands can ‘make friends with their audience’.
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