One more example why TV wine ads are so awful

Nielsen announced its best TV ads for alcohol products from the first part of 2015. The wine winner points out yet again just how sad TV wine advertising is and how little it has changed from the Orson Welles and Riunite days of my youth.

The winning ad, chosen from those that aired in the first two quarters last year, was a 15-second spot for Woodbridge, the $8 grocery store wine from Constellation’s Robert Mondavi label. It’s mostly shots of women of a certain age — and a dog — holding wine glasses by the bowl and laughing. It has the lowest “brand memorability index” of the five winning ads (two beers, a spirits, and a cider) and the best the analysis could say was that the ad “established an ownable creative concept over time that creates an emotional connection with viewers.”

If this is the winner, how bad were the losers ?You can see the Woodbridge spot below; perhaps an ad type who is reading this could explain if an “ownable creative concept” is a good thing.

I’ve never been able to figure out why TV wine ads are so awful. Maybe it’s for the same reason that TV wine shows are usually boring — there just isn’t much visually interesting about drinking wine.

More about TV wine ads:
Riunite on ice — so nice
Sex sells — even for wine in the 1970s
TV wine commercials and their legacy

8 thoughts on “One more example why TV wine ads are so awful

  • By George Christo -

    But wouldn’t an Orson Welles redux become a killer ad spot for our generation, just for the nostalgic awfulness of it? Who doesn’t remember, “There is no wine, before it’s time,” in that deep voice, corny as that motto was? Wasn’t it for E&J Gallo wines? And if I remember that correctly without a youtube search, wouldn’t that be precisely what Madison Avenue would want? Well, except for the fact that I was 10 years old at the time. Isn’t that the argument for why this non-descript ad for Mondavi is so bad – what’s to remember about it? Oh wait, the youtube search confirmed it was for Paul Masson. Never mind.

  • By Blake Gray -

    Wow that’s boring.

    I fail to see the “ownable creative concept” there. I expected a recurring character (Flo in those Progressive ads, for example). Is it the tagline? If so, not so exciting.

    Does anyone feel emotionally connected to this ad?

    I worked in advertising for a little while, and my agency did some poor ads, and I know how those generally were made: a committee came up with something inoffensive because the client didn’t really know what they wanted.

  • By John wilkinson -

    Here are the best TV ads for wine….ever!

  • By Joe Janish -

    Jeff, what was so sad and/or awful about the old Riunite commercials? They typically followed the theme of soft-drink beverages of the time, showing people having a good time while drinking wine — which is pretty much what wine industry people such as myself would like to see. Further, if anyone did a “brand memorability index” on the Riunite commercials, I’d imagine they would score off the charts — say to anyone our age “Riunite on ice …” and wait for them to respond with “… so nice.” That may be one of the most memorable and effective jingles and taglines in TV ad history.

    As for today’s wine commercials, instead of pointing out how “awful” they are, why not craft a post about how they can be “good” or “effective.” Should there be a gecko with an Australian accent as a spokesperson? A famous sports athlete? Background music by Kanye? B-roll of rolling hillsides covered in vines? Winemaker jamming on guitar? I’m curious to hear ideas — from you and the visitors here — what would constitute a “good” wine commercial. (No worries, I won’t steal any — I’m in PR, not advertising.)

    • By Wine Curmudgeon -

      The old Riunite ads have not dated well, Joe. And they were kind of corny even then.

      • By Joe Janish -

        I’m not arguing whether or not the Riunite ads were corny, nor if they have dated well. Who cares? An ad’s purpose is to create a motivation to buy, as well as a reminder to buy; considering Riunite’s success in the 1980s, the commercials seem to have accomplished both goals.

        Rather, what I’m asking (challenging?) you and your readers to suggest ideas on how a wine commercial could be “good.” Or at least, point out a wine ad that you think is good.

        I’ll start …

        Personally, my favorite wine commercials of all-time were the “Aldo Cella” TV ads for Cella Lambrusco. I thought they were funny when I was 11 years old and I still think they’re hysterical. (And I felt that way BEFORE I started working for the importer.) The closest thing I’ve seen to a good wine commercial since then are the youtube videos produced by Jordan winery (though those are not TV commercials, maybe they could be considered today’s version).

  • By Khris -

    Only wine commercials I remember ever seeing was for Bella Serra a few years back. And perhaps one for Yellow Tail, though I vaguely remember it at all. I suppose I didn’t even realize wine commercials were a thing. Although that’s propably a function of living in TN, where, if it’s not whiskey, moonshine, or light beer, there aren’t many people who drink it. We’re not exactly the target audience.

  • By Deborah Keppel -

    I love Robert Mondavi Hollies Long Cool Woman ad. Makes me want to go shopping…now!

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