Reputation Survey: Beer brands - Stella Artois sends out mixed messages

Despite being tarred with the nickname 'wife beater', Stella Artois has the best overall image among beer brands, but half of the public wants brewers to do more to promote lighter ranges

Stella Artois has the best overall image among beer brands in the UK.

In the latest survey by PRWeek/One Poll, the brand was ahead of rivals including Carlsberg, Carling and Foster's in terms of overall reputation. But the AB InBev brand has been given the nickname 'wife beater' in the past and suffered from negative associations. This could be why 22 per cent of the public also felt Stella Artois had the worst overall image.

Almost half of the respondents felt image overhauls such as the recent Stella Artois Four campaign could help brands to overcome negative perceptions among consumers.

The survey comes as Cobra Beer introduces a fresh look with new packaging in the UK to emphasise its 'premium' positioning.

The survey suggests more needs to be done to maintain reputation among consumers. More than 40 per cent of respondents felt none of the named beer brands provided enough information about ingredients, calories and alcohol content on packaging.

Forty-two per cent said beer brands were not doing enough to push the 'drink responsibly' message and were partially to blame for Britain's binge-drinking culture.

As a result, 50 per cent of respondents said brands could do more to promote lighter ranges to help reduce UK obesity levels. Stella Artois (23 per cent) and Budweiser (18 per cent) were the brands respondents felt offered the most diversity in their ranges, such as lighter options.

Survey of 2,000 members of the public conducted by global research agency OnePoll


Laura Weston, Joint managing partner, Iris PR

It is interesting that consumers now perceive lighter options of beer as an important part of a range. When the industry first launched these products, there was a lot of misunderstanding from consumers about what this meant, with many believing it was about less alcohol content versus calories.

It is good that this area of the market can now grow and expand.

The fact that Stella Artois has both the best and worst image just confirms there is a real difficulty in marketing beer brands, when there can be different perceptions based on whether the product is consumed in or out of home. There is some interesting innovation going on in the beer market, with Heineken leading by focusing on making its bottles iconic and using materials such as aluminium to target a more discerning customer.

This, coupled with the sophisticated TV ad campaigns such as those by Stella Artois, demonstrates why consumers believe that beer brands can overhaul their image.

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