I consider Stella Artois to be one of the better and more flavorful lagers, as well as one of the best-marketed beers in the world. But its “Chalice Factory” online promotion fell flat for me.
I love it when a brand leverages a distinctive asset, which is exactly what Stella has done with the chalice-shaped glass in its print and TV advertising for years. So the idea of taking consumers to an online “Chalice Factory” and giving them a chance to win their own chalice is an intriguing one. The problem is that as I went through the interactive video, I became increasingly confident that I was going to win a chalice. Why the high expectations? Perhaps because the video was more time-consuming than I’d expected, leading me to think, “There’s no way they’re going to make me endure this whole experience and then not reward me for my time!” So when I was told, “Sorry, but we’re out of chalices,” I felt both disappointed and betrayed.
Don’t get me wrong; the interactive video wasn’t bad; it’s just that it wasn’t great, and great is what I’ve come to expect from the marketing folks at Stella Artois. But this time, they let me down on two counts: they failed to meet my expectations from an entertainment standpoint, and they didn’t give me the prize they’d convinced me–intentionally or not–that I was about to win.
Just as with great athletes, the bar is higher for great marketers. And when they fail to clear the bar, it’s a bigger deal than it is for lesser players. This “Chalice Factory” promotion was a fairly bold gamble on Stella’s part–the marketing equivalent of stepping up to take the game-winning shot. In this case, however, Stella Artois missed the shot at the buzzer, and in the process missed a shot at some great marketing buzz.