Let’s get real for a second: I love words. I love rhythms and emphases and tiny nuances of meaning. I love how a word sounds like its meaning (ever read Alphabet Juice? So good.) and how a collusion of the perfect sounds can enrich a sentence far more than any emoticon. Words are incredible. Words are beautiful.

Now, I’ve come to understand that not everyone shares this obsession. I’ve had to learn to tolerate the typical grammatical gaffes and forgive their perpetrators. Even the perpetrators who hang signs with the glaring mistake in their shop windows. I’m learning that not everyone cares enough to make their sentences sing, and that’s okay with me.

But when I see someone who is just SO CLOSE to great writing… It breaks my heart.

Stella, I’d just like to say, I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT.

They have this headline on a billboard I used to drive by every day.

(Obvs not the actual billboard. You don’t want me to take pics while driving!)

“It’s a chalice, not a glass.”

What the hell is that? It’s a let-down, that’s what. Think Don Draper here. Would Don Draper say it that way in a client meeting? No way. You know what he’d say?

“It’s not a glass, it’s a chalice.”

Can’t you just see his face light up on that last word? Classic. If you have a negative last it leaves a bad taste in the reader’s mouth. That’s textbook.

I found out later that their original campaign (released September 2010) actually said it my way. When you were already doing it the right way, why would you change it?

Anyways, I was ready to forgive Stella this shortcoming (after all, it’s not a bad beer), but then I saw this billboard today (also not the actual billboard):

“From the largest micro-brewery in the world. Belgium.”

Again: good idea, bad execution. Anyone who’s had at least one Stella Artois knows where it’s from. That “Belgium” tacked on the end there is just a slap in the face.  People don’t like to be TOLD what’s up, we like to think we already know. It makes us feel smart and included.

If you talk to your consumers like they’re dumb, they’re going to be the only consumers you have. True story.

And Stella, I’m sorry for all this, but I’m going to have to agree with Droga5. Who the hell wants to drink from a chalice, anyways?


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