Behind the Scenes of Patrick Stewart's Self-Deprecating Strongbow Hard Cider Ad (Exclusive)

The veteran actor and brand executives explain why Stewart is being used to hold an award that covers his face.

Patrick Stewart is the star of Strongbow Apple Hard Cider's latest ad campaign, but he's not the star of the brand's newest spot. Instead, the veteran British actor is holding the gold-medal award Strongbow received for best-tasting hard cider at the 2014 Tastings World Beer Championships. He peeks his head out from behind the award at one point to ask, "Have you got the shot yet?" only to be reminded to stay behind the award. He then rolls his eyes and returns the award to its proper place in the spotlight.

That self-deprecating sense of humor is something that fans of Stewart's have come to expect from the X-Men and Star Trek star. The actor said it was the familiar humor behind the concept of Strongbow's campaign — in which he's upstaged by the award and, later, ice, in a version of the ad that will roll out later this year — that appealed to him.

"It was something which, in its nature, very much appealed to me and was part of some of the humor that I've been engaged with in the last few years, particularly on social media, and I thought that could be entertaining," says Stewart in one of two exclusive behind-the-scenes clips that The Hollywood Reporter is debuting.

Strongbow parent company Heineken USA's chief marketing officer Nuno Teles explains that the brand wanted to highlight the award, with agency partner Droga5 coming up with the concept of Stewart holding the award.

"We were very pleased with the award that we received," he told THR. "So there's the challenge: How can we communicate this to the consumer? What we wanted was to punch above our weight and have something that would be seen as super creative. Patrick Stewart really understood the idea, and he was very excited about bringing that to life in a very big, big way, with a lot of humor."

Continued Teles: "The idea is to enhance the fact that we'd received this best-tasting-cider award and to have Patrick really interacting with us and making sure he's behind the award or holding the award. This is indeed a very compelling way to bring the idea to life."

Stewart also did a lot of improvisation as he was filming the ads, added Teles and Heineken's Strongbow brand director Alejandra de Obeso.

"[Stewart's] comedic wit embodies the humor of the brand," said de Obeso in a statement. "He was such a good sport and had a bit of fun improvising with Strongbow, which we all truly enjoyed."

The actor was also the perfect pitchman for Strongbow because of his own history with the brand, having been a fan of it since he was 22, explained Teles.

"There was a time when I was a significant cider drinker, which of course included Strongbow," says Stewart in the second behind-the-scenes clip. "I was a brewer. I brewed my own beer, but I didn't make cider. Now I should because I have apple orchards. Instead, all I have is apple juice."

Watch two exclusive behind-the-scenes clips with Stewart at the top and bottom of this story.

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