Reassuringly Expensive

Stella Artois is one of my favourite brands. I don't like to drink it. Too aromatic and hoppy for my palate. But it has elevated mainstream, volume beer to a higher plane. Stella is the perfect invocation of the story being more important than the product. Not that the story has anything to do with overt representations of quality or tradition. Everything is implicit - or implied. The advertising is sublime (in this market at least - I think we receive the U.K. promotional materials - 'where Britain goes, we go...that's my ANZAC tribute).

However, the point of this post is to tell you how much I have been enjoying reading Peter Mayle's 1993 book Expensive Habits in which he chronicles his experiences with the accoutrements of the wealthy. From hand made shoes to mistresses. In his yarn about the joys of Cashmere he begins a paragraph:"It is also reassuringly expensive. Ounce for ounce only vicuna-which comes from a family of privileged camels who live in the mountains of South America-cost more,..."
I wonder if this was the origin of the phrase later coined by the creative team who developed the Stella campaign? I am not crying foul, simply observing. It is rich vein to tap - if you pardon the rapid succession of puns. Perhaps the expression was simply a part of the vernacular for those of us who have chauffeur driven limousines and private aircraft before Mr Mayle (whom I believe was a advertising creative before exiling himself profitable to France to write A year in Provence - the book being much better than the one star film A Good Year.)


  1. Hi David,

    Stella's "Reassuringly expensive" pre-dates Mayles book by some years, I believe. I first saw it sometime in the mid '80s and our company - Wellington jingle writers Soundtrax - would gleefully tell it to ad agency clients when we quoted on jobs. As the ad business back then was gorging itself on the teat of privatisation - ah, happy days! - this did indeed tend to reassure rather than repel clients.


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