Let’s be honest, Stella has lost its premium rating. A few years ago there would have been no need to launch a Stella Black – it’s not a black beer (in fact, it’s a golden larger). The name is hoping to denote premium – for Black read premium, sleek and exclusive. It’s a brand launch intended to raise the premium credentials of the Artois family and move away from its “wife beater” image.
So what better way to set the exclusive ball rolling than to launch with a little immersive theatre, a splash of culture delivered in Sixties-styled monochrome by agency Mother. For the uninitiated, immersive theatre puts you at the heart of the action. In this case punters are taken on a trip where they meet various characters and become part of the narrative themselves, as the story unfolds like a film. Expect femme fatales, secret exchanges and unanswered questions with themes of love, loss, loyalty and regret and definitely no wife beating.
Arriving back at the venue, all will gather to exchange their individual stories, piece together each other’s experiences and reflect on the events of the night and then tweet, poke and blog themselves silly – because at its heart this is a very creative if a little pretentious way to try and drip-feed the brand through a very small participation campaign. And the marketing promise – to be something that every person you tell will wish they had been a part of.
These are early days in the participation game and success will not be as simple as black and white, but will inevitably be some shade of grey. The question is, will Stella Black be happy with grey?
Tony O’Brien is creative director at Pulse Group