Stella Artois Black Presents: The Night Chauffeur

MaM bored out of her pretty skull after we exhaust all the gossip we can shout at each other over the discordant jazz shite. Look at her face – so depressed.

….was the most unbelievably disappointing and entirely uneventful 2 hours I’ve ever spent in a pub – also the beer was dire.

Rant below, be warned.

So here’s the advert, I’ve highlighted the important bits :

To celebrate the launch of Stella Artois Black, the brand is taking its own tradition of telling stories one step further with ‘The Night Chauffeur.’ An interactive experience which promises to bring cinema to life, lucky ticket holders will be plunged into an intriguing world of film noir femme fatales, secret exchanges and unanswered questions whilst being driven around the streets of London (and back in time) in a 1960s Citroen DS. Along the way they will be thrust into what feels like the final act of a film, with an intense narrative, tales of love, loss, loyalty and regret.

Successful entrants will then turn up at their chosen bar (which will be transformed to bring the illusion of being in a sophisticated nouvelle vague film to life), where a phone will ring and the barman will call out their name. A chauffeur will pick them up, two at a time, and the night-time journey begins

I consider all the above to be blatant false advertising.

We waited around in this pub called The Peasant near Angel for over 2 hours – the pub wasn’t really done up. There was just a table or two plonked in the corner, blacked out windows. It looked like any pub would look, a tad dim. Nothing “sophisticated” nor “novella vague film” about it at all.

Me and MaM sat patiently in the corner of the bar. The beer was free but Stella I find, frankly revolting so I ordered a Shandy. They handed over what seemed to be a 3 pint glass that I sipped about 1/8th of it for the next 2 hours. The bartender took ages lopping off the head on the free beers he was handing out. It was idiotic. It’s not surgery man, it’s a fucking beer. Get on with it. We didn’t traipse all the way here to watch you exercising your ‘craft’.

There was jazz playing in the background. Every time they paused to start a ‘new’ song, I hoped something would happen. Nothing ever happened. I’m sure now that jazz players probably can’t read sheet music, because every song sounded the same. It was two hours of the same bloody song. Although I suppose jazz is the expected soundtrack to a ‘noir’ themed event, it was still very tedious. Also predictable. (I’m bitchy about jazz, it gets on my nerves)

Two actors were doing the same mock fight scene over and over. (Some scripted marital problem) The pub was loud and with these interactive events there’s usually a sense of atmosphere (which is what makes it work) and this was completely lacking any atmosphere other than some cheap brand whoring.

So nothing happened, nothing happened, nothing happened. The same two actors staging a fight behind the bar, up the stair case, down the stair case. Whatever. This means nothing when you’re in a prosaic setting of a badly decorated pub.

Eventually we asked someone what was going on – apparently you needed to get a card from some woman at a table (although sometimes they wouldn’t give you a card or the woman wasn’t there) and you may or may not get taken somewhere and maybe if you were oh-so-lucky (more importantly, if you had a camera crew, as this was the press preview) you might get taken in a car.

No one explained anything to us – the advert said you wait and someone calls out your name (we were on the list) but we just waited. That was the only thing the advert nailed.

Eventually we just got up and left, throughly fed-up. It was too crowded and these people were totally up-themselves. UJ journalists (MaM, sorry) clearly have no cache. And UJ was even running the adverts plugging this garbage. I figured that would give the UJ-ers some kind of cred.

I was even more disappointed since this whole event was organised by this theatre company that hosts these interactive plays I really love. {Faust (heart x 3), Masque of the Red Death (heart x 2), The Duchess of Malfi (heart x 2), Tunnel 228 (heart x 1)} and I’d been looking forward to it for about a week.

But it was all so cheap and tawdry, badly organised and over crowded, and worse there was this sense of a lack of commitment. Well of course it was a free promotional soul-less event for some wife beater beer. What could I have expected? Yet I did expect.

MaM and I consoled each other over the colossal failure of the damn thing with heart-felt apologies (I don’t know why we were apologizing, probably just to ourselves for coming). Then got on our mutual busses home. At least home was only 10 minutes away. MaM had to trek all the way down to Battersea.

The only good thing was there were free mini-sausages (mmmm sssausages) and a few other munchies. That was the highlight of the evening especially since the beer was undrinkable (personal taste).

I don’t know if I should bother trying to do this again, because if the press event was so poorly arranged I doubt the real event will be better. Apparently the theatre company I mentioned earlier doesn’t want it to be known that they are associated with this event. That’s hardly surprising. It’s was not a very good event.

I refused to link this to this advert/event as I have no desire to plug it in any way.


9 thoughts on “Stella Artois Black Presents: The Night Chauffeur

  1. The Citroen DS would’ve been flippin brilliant too… it’s still considered mildly futuristic! Think there were only a few thousand made or summat. Shame.

  2. God it was truly cack wasn’t it, I was dreadfully disappointed and felt very guilty for having played any part via work in making people think they were all getting a go in the pretty car :o( wouldnt have minded so much if i had understood the concept but yeah, def comes across as false advertising. next time, we bring a film crew!! And some vodka in your belt flask. Sigh….. Everyone who DID go in the car gave it rave reviews the bastards! Xxx

  3. Well, at least the big burly bouncer man did come and ask us what we thought of marriage… that was ‘interactive’ although it was all a bit deflating thinking he was asking as some kind of password/ intro conversation in order for us to get in a car… I may have to get in a taxi tonight and just have them drive me around London as consolation…

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