Stella Artois seeks to ‘take Wimbledon beyond the courts’ as it launches theatre production

Stella Artois is launching its “360-degree” Wimbledon campaign today (14 June) in a bid to bring the Wimbledon experience to the masses, using theatre to make a more emotional connection with consumers.

The brand, which is owned by AB InBev, has developed a campaign inspired by the “humble beginnings” of world-renowned brands such as Wimbledon and Stella Artois.

The integrated campaign, which was created by Mother London and is part of a five-year sponsorship deal with Wimbledon, features outdoor and digital activity, as well as a TV ad. It unfolds in Victorian London and tells the story of a young man who is trying to sell tickets to the very first Wimbledon. As no one has heard of it, he struggles to sell any tickets.

His spirits are lifted, however, by an encounter with a bar owner who offers him a taste of an unknown beer from Belgium called Stella Artois. He takes comfort in knowing he’s not the only one trying to turn an unknown name into a lasting legacy.

The campaign also includes an immersive theatre experience called ‘The Time Portal’. The play will take place over five days in London, and aims to transport audiences back to Victorian London in search of the first Wimbledon.

Rowan Chidgey, senior brand manager at Stella Artois, told Marketing Week the brand is focusing on theatre in a bid to stay relevant with younger audiences, as “experience is everything”.

“Millennials in London love to attend festivals and visit events like Secret Cinema. We’re the number one beer brand, but we have to stay relevant. We wanted to take the Wimbledon experience beyond the courts,” she commented.

Stella Artois is not the only beer brand to put a bigger emphasis on experiential. For example, Carlsberg has launched various experiential events, including a fully-working bar made out of chocolate for Easter.

Chidgey believes, however, that the brand’s theatre production and campaign will make a mark due to its emotive nature.

“We knew we needed to create something incredible. It needs to be an experience that people want to talk about and share. A lot of the campaign is based around word of mouth,” she said.

“We’re doing a 360-degree campaign and we’re going bigger than ever. It’s quite an emotive campaign, which is something we’ve never done before. We used to focus more on the physical elements of our brand but now we’re prioritising the human values.”

One of the categories in this year’s Masters of Marketing Awards celebrates excellence in experiential and events.

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