The years of Sex and the City are over. Though we held out hope that a third film could reinvigorate franchsie after the Manolo Blahnik-fueled dumpster fire that was the Abu Dhabi-set second installment, Kim Cattrall put the final nail in that coffin (and created plenty of drama in the process).
Death to SATC notwithstanding, Sarah Jessica Parker decided to dust off her fictional counterpart for a good cause: Stella Artois’s water.org partnership.
The Belgian beer brand has been “pouring it forward” since 2015, providing clean water to over 1.7 million people in developing countries. The purchase of one bottle provides one month of clean water for someone in need, while purchase of their (I must say, pretty chic) chalice provides 5 years (!) of clean water.
For the record, let us state that what Stella Artois is doing is awesome. However, their use of Carrie Bradshaw in their promotional materials is NOT. Hear me out.
From an advertising perspective, this is ~probably~ brilliant — a play to convince SATC-reared 20-somethings who ordered their first cocktail with Ms. Bradshaw in mind to switch to Stellas. But I can’t help but wonder whether aligning Carrie, the O.G. Cosmo girl, with a beverage so fundamentally opposed to her and her lavish lifestyle is something of a violation of the character?
The second ad in the brand’s campaign, a Super Bowl commercial, is the most egregious to SATC stans. Carrie, outfitted in the most on-brand of glitzy ensembles, sits down at a bar and is immediately offered her go-to, a Cosmopolitan. “Nope,” she responds, “I’ll have a Stella Artois.” The same scene repeats over, this time with Jeff Bridges reprising his iconic role of The Big Lebowski’s Dude — he, too, refuses his signature White Russian in favor of a Stella (which he of course mispronounces). Bradshaw taps him on the shoulder and commends his choice. “Changing can do a little good,” he responds.
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I’m not the only one incensed (and confused) by this campaign:
Again, it’s a smart way to bring attention to Stella Artois’s mission (and, uh, beer), but it feels like an unauthorized re-write of these characters and their unique qualities. You might think having Carrie opt for a ubiquitous mid-tier beer instead of a bright pink $18 cocktail doesn’t change her character, but honestly, when you peel back the material layers of Bradshaw, there isn’t a lot left. Take away the Cosmos, the stilettos, and the carousel of men, and who is Carrie? A truly mediocre friend and a writer without a lot to say.
For the sake of our very fragile Sex and the City fantasy, retired Carrie lives in Barney’s, Cosmopolitan in hand — don’t take that away from us, Stella.