The Third Leader: Commercial breaks

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The Independent Online

Cue advert, all sepia and class, with familiar Continental art movie music. A man bearing a striking resemblance to Rene in 'Allo 'Allo crouches behind bar, dolefully surveying ruck going down on other side featuring snarling pink faces employing their limited foreheads for offensive purposes while other parts of them propel furniture and each other over prone figures slumped serially. A slogan appears: "Damage: reassuringly extensive."

All right, I agree, as a way of selling beer, it probably wouldn't work, on a number of levels. Even so, sadly, life has once again intruded upon commercial art. A lager long marketed on its exclusivity has been overtaken by a reputation for strength and a lack of, how shall we say, sensitivity and delicacy among its over-enthusiastic consumers. And sales are down. So the Stella Artois brewers have embarked upon a certain amount of repositioning, with less emphasis on Stella, more on the Artois range, and on a new corporate slogan, "Pass on something good", rather than the famous Stella legend, "Reassuringly expensive".

As you can see, I'm no advertising man, which must be why I misread the new slogan as an invitation to pass on the good stuff and drink Stella instead. I have trouble remembering the Seventies, but didn't they have a more snappy slogan then, "Stella's for Fellas"?

Perhaps not. I do have another idea, though. Cider has done very well, and avoided testosterone excess, by attracting female drinkers. How about, then, changing the name, to, say, Brad Artois? Or, indeed, in honour of that considerable babe magnet already mentioned, Rene Artois. Call me.