Saturday, October 31, 2009

une femme-frappeur, s'il vous plaît

I'll tell you what annoys me about those Stella Artois 4 adverts, since you ask. It's not the general content of the adverts themselves, which is as excellent as ever - whoever came up with the whole "reassuringly expensive" thing back in the day was a genius - it's the name of the product and the way it's presented in the adverts.

In both of the adverts I've seen (which you can have a look at here and here) there's some hilarious French Riviera-set action, culminating in the main character sauntering nonchalantly into a bar and saying "une Stella Artois Four, s'il vous plaît", followed by the obligatory product shot and seductive female voice-over (in English, this time, just in case we hadn't worked out what he was talking about).

Trouble is, the four doesn't really work when you're delivering the rest of the sentence in French, since of course the French word would be quatre. I guess Stella Artois must have concluded that the English-speaking public couldn't cope with that, although interestingly Beck's seem to have come to a different conclusion with their lower-alcohol product Beck's Vier.

It gets worse, though, because they pronounce the four with a proper rolled "r" (because they're French - why do you think they have this outrageous accent?). This makes it sound like the French word fort, which could conceivably be applied to beer, because it just means "strong". Trouble is, the whole point of SA4 is that it's less strong than the standard wife-beating brew. Confusing, isn't it? Even worse, SA4 is marketed in Canada as Stella Artois Légère, and légère means "light", i.e. just the opposite of fort. Phew. Now I need a drink.

Two other things to note before we move on: firstly that Google's language tools offer the following translations of légère: slight, feathery, promiscuous. I suppose there might be a connection with the use of words like "flighty" or "loose" in English to denote the same thing, if you're a 70-year-old Daily Mail reader anyway. Secondly, note that the InBev SA4 web page describes the beer as "a good pallet cleanser". I assume that what they meant was "a good palate cleanser"; if they really did mean it was good for removing stubborn stains from these then I might give it a miss, to be honest.

What I won't be doing instead is going and having a pint of Carling, for reasons that their latest series of beermats make clear, in what I assume is an unintentional way. I've enlarged the slogan below the main picture, just in case you can't make it out: no way will the Advertising Standards guys be on their backs about this one; that's one claim that I'm pretty positive is accurate.

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