Stella Artois, the reassuringly expensive beer from Belgium, was taken into the realm of dark humour in 1999 with “Last Orders”, a commercial directed by Jonathan Glazer. The 60 minute commercial showed just how precious the beer would be to an aged man on his deathbed.
“Last orders” features a dying man’s three final wishes. He asks his son to climb a tree to pick a rare flower, and to collect honey from a beehive. The third request, for a Stella Artois, will be costly. The family put together their francs and send the son off to collect the expensive beer. Things do not go to plan, however, and he arrives back with an empty glass. The priest, who has arrived to say the last rites, provides the way out of the awkward situation…
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The Last Orders advert was developed at Lowe London by creative director Charles Inge (now at CHI and Partners), copywriter Paul Silburn (now at Saatchi & Saatchi), art director Vince Squibb (now at Gorgeous), account executives Harriet Bell, Jeremy Bowles, account planner Jo Reid, and agency producer Tracey Johnston.
Music was composed by French film composer Jean-Claude Petit.
Last Orders was shot on two different locations in France. Camera equipment at the first location began to sink due to the effects of a thunderstorm and deluge. Filming resumed two weeks later at another location in the South of France.
French actor Denis Lavant, who plays the son of the dying father, appeared in the UNKLE music video, “Rabbit In Your Headlights”, directed by Jonathan Glazer.
Last orders won a silver award for Best TV commercial at the British Television Advertising Awards, and a Bronze Film Lion at Cannes International Advertising Festival in 1999.