Stella Artois plans first below-the-line work with Draft

Stella Artois is broadening its communications strategy with its first foray into below-the-line activity.

The lager brand has appointed the direct marketing outfit DraftWorldwide London to roll out a customer relationship marketing programme during the first half of this year.

Although Stella Artois has yet to reveal what media it intends to use, the scheme is likely to centre on the brand's association with film, specifically its sponsorship of outdoor screenings and the website Draft will attempt to make these elements more relevant to the product.

The move marks a change in strategy for Stella Artois, which in the past has depended on traditional above-the-line techniques, through Draft's sister creative agency Lowe & Partners.

The latest of a celebrated series of 60-second TV executions, created by Lowe and directed by Jonathan Glazer, aired earlier this month.

Stella Artois' brand manager, Emma Turner, said: "Draft's thinking and creativity demonstrated a deep understanding of our brand. It also illustrated that, with sound strategic thought and exciting creative executions, relationship marketing can really work for us."

Draft's creative director, Arthur Parshotam, added: "We want to deliver something out of the ordinary for Stella Artois. It's a lighthouse brand that challenges consumers, so the usual loyalty paraphernalia, such as points schemes, cards and customer magazines, would be inappropriate. Our work will seek to enrich the consumer's brand experience in a suitable understated, subtle way."

The Stella Artois account is the latest in a series of recent Draft wins, which include the COI Communications/Department of Work and Pensions account and an additional portion of the Telewest broadband account.

The win comes only a week after it was revealed that Draft's managing partners, Ian Taylor and Tony Wilson, are to leave the agency, seven years after setting it up.