Stella Artois has hailed its success in moving away from its image as an “older person’s drink.”
The beer brand has actively tried to boost its cultural relevance among younger people by joining forces with Water.org on the Buy a Lady a Drink programme.
This has seen it donate £9.67 million to the scheme, which aims to improve long-term access to clean water in third world nations, over the last three years.
The company has also donated the proceeds from sales of 225,000 of its distinctive glass chalices to the programme.
Stella Artois has gone a step further this year by offering limited edition packs of the beer in supermarkets that could provide six months of clean water to developing countries.
Furthermore, every bottle bought in pubs will provide one month of clean drinking water.
Rowan Chidgey, Senior Brand Manager at Stella Artois, believes this effort has helped to shift perceptions of the brand and opened it up to the millennial generation in particular.
“Younger people are considering us more as a brand and we’re becoming more relevant to them,” she commented.
“That’s been reflected not just in rising sales but in our brand equity as well.
“It is fair to say historically Stella Artois is seen as an older person’s drink, so we needed a new way of resonating with a younger audience. The ‘Buy A Lady A Drink’ campaign has been perfect for achieving that.”
Ms Chidgey has insisted that Stella Artois is not seeking to jump on a bandwagon by demonstrating its social conscious.
Instead, she said the priority is to stay culturally relevant, as younger consumers want to know “how they can leave a mark.”
“It isn’t about being political, but knowing that by supporting a brand they can make a difference to the world,” she stated.
Ms Chidgey went on to stress that brands have had to adopt all sorts of different approaches over the years in order to stay culturally relevant to its target audience.
“Our insight shows that ethical campaigns such as this one are now the key,” she observed.
However, Ms Chidgey said brands that are looking to emulate this approach by working with charities on ethical projects should ensure there is a clear reason behind it.
Indeed, she stated that an ethical campaign will only work if the cause fits with a company’s values and it can demonstrate “why you’re doing it as a brand.”
Ms Chidgey noted that since water is a key part of its brewing process, it is a resource that it doesn’t take for granted.
As a result, the campaign with Water.org “was a natural fit.”
She also pointed out that this initiative has worked because Matt Damon, the Hollywood actor who co-founded the Buy A Lady a Drink programme, has “real passion and connection with the campaign.”
However, she said hiring a random celebrity to “co-sign something your brand has no tangible links to isn’t a good idea.”