Tag Archives: TV wine ads

TV wine ads: Drink Black Tower, invade a foreign country

This 1982 Black Tower TV commercial reminds us that TV wine ads don’t improve with age

Black Tower is a German wine, best known for its black bottle. In the 1970s and 1980s, when U.S. wine drinkers wanted sweet white wine, Black Tower played off Blue Nun’s success to enjoy a bit of popularity before heading to the back shelves of the liquor store. Where it remains, for $8 a bottle, in case you’re curious.

Which brings us to this bizarre Black Tower TV commercial from 1982. The brand’s marketing types probably thought they had to distance it from Blue Nun’s image, so they made it much more manly. A deep, dark voice reminds us the wine comes “in the towering black bottle” while faux Wagner music plays in the background. Frankly, after watching this, it feels like it’s time to conquer Europe.

The catch, of course, is that Black Tower was about as manly as a baby diaper. It was a sweet, soft wine, and the commercial crams that information in even though it doesn’t quite fit the rest of the ad. Plus, there’s a blond woman eating an apple, because all wine commercials have to have blond women (though I’m not quite sure why the apple).

Like I said, bizarre.

So one more example of the sad state of TV wine ads, whether today or 36 years ago. Is it wonder I worry about the future of the wine business?

Video courtesy of Sean Mc via YouTube

More about TV wine ads:
TV wine ad update: Does this Kim Crawford commercial make sense?
Chill a Cella: Now we know why more Americans don’t drink wine
When Blue Nun ruled the wine world

Hendrick’s gin: How to do a TV booze commercial

This Hendrick’s gin TV ad puts most wine advertising to shame

A friend of mine, a woman who hits the wine demographic sweet spot, doesn’t drink gin, doesn’t buy gin, and doesn’t like gin. So I asked her to watch this Hendrick’s gin TV commercial.

“Wow,” she said. “I want to buy Hendrick’s gin.”

In other words, one more example of how the booze business – save wine – understands TV advertising. We get the Roo; spirits drinkers get something clever and enticing.

What makes this commercial work?

• The bit about “oddly infused with rose and cucumber.” All gin is infused with herbal and vegetable flavors, but this ad defines the point of difference between Hendrick’s and other gins.

• The animation, a cross between Terry Gilliam and William Gibson. It fits perfectly with the rose and cucumber line.

• No cliches. No almost naked babes, no wine drinking stereotypes, no frat house humor. This is a classy product, says the ad, and you’ll enjoy it. Would that someone in wine understood that approach.

I was talking to a friend the other day, a leading wine industry type, and wine marketing came up. His point was almost chilling: What passes for quality wine marketing, he said, is convincing people Carlo Rossi is a real person.

No wonder I worry about the future of the wine business.

Video courtesy of Hendrick’s Gin via YouTube, using a Creative Commons license

More about TV wine ads:
What was James Mason doing making a Thunderbird TV commercial?
Is this the greatest TV wine commercial ever?
TV wine commercials aren’t getting any better

Someone likes one of those Yellow Tail TV ads — really

Is it possible that this Yellow Tail TV ad isn’t awful?

Yellow Tail, the Australian grocery store wine, has come in for a fair share of criticism on the blog for its TV commercials. Which, to put it nicely, are everything that has been wrong with TV wine commercials for 60 years – pretentious and snotty, as well as emphasizing that we need Yellow Tail to hook up with a hot chick.

Because, of course, that’s what we associate with $7 supermarket wine.

The intriguing thing about this Yellow Tail ad from 2012 is not that it is different. It isn’t. It’s more of the same, and told in the same annoying, “I drink Yellow Tail, so I’m cooler than you are” way. What’s intriguing is that someone likes it – several someones, if the comments on the ad’s You Tube page are to be believed.

“Very cool commercial nice use of motion graphics,” says one comment. “Great commercial….I always have to stop what I’m doing to watch……Great music too!” says another.

Far be it from me to suggest that all this praise isn’t legitimate, though it’s worth noting that all 10 comments are uniformly gushing (and that fake praise is currently bedeviling the Internet). Then again, maybe I’m missing something, and the ad is truly genius. If so, does that mean I have to like the infamous Yellow Tail “pet my roo” ad?

Chill a Cella: Now we know why more Americans don’t drink wine

Chill a Cella: A cheesy mustache and bad Italian accent do not make for a great TV wine commercial

This 1979 “Chill a Cella” commercial for Cella Lambrusco, a sweet Italian red, makes me wonder how Americans ever embraced wine. Certainly not from this, which is far from funny, annoying, sort of offensive, stereotyping, and particularly poor marketing. I’m going to drink this wine because some guy with a bad Italian accent and cheesy mustache likes it?

Ironically, the U.S. enjoyed a mini-wine boom over the next decade, before consumption bottomed out in 1989. It didn’t reach the 1979 level again for 10 more years. Maybe it was a hangover from all that Cella.

Video courtesy of Bionic Disco via YouTube

More about TV wine commercials:
Is this the greatest TV wine commercial ever?
Watch this beer spot to see how TV wine ads should be done
James Mason and Thunderbird

What was James Mason doing making a Thunderbird TV commercial?

The distinguished actor was taking his place in the long failed history of TV wine commercials

James Mason was one of the greatest actors in a generation that included Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, and Deborah Kerr. So what was he doing making a Thunderbird commercial? Yes, that Thunderbird.

It’s all part of the long, failed history of TV wine commercials.

This 21-second black and white ad, apparently shot in 1964, exhibits every failing of TV wine advertising for as long as it has existed. It’s phony and pretentious; about the only thing missing is the hot chick. And it would be snotty even if it didn’t pitch Thunderbird, best known as the drink of choice for people who desperately need high octane at little cost. My favorite part? That the ad calls Thunderbird an aperitif. Which, of course, it isn’t, and is a concept that few consumers 50 years ago would have understood. But it sounds classy, so why not?

Mason, according to many reports, was often short of money, and did this for the cash. You can sort of tell that by the look on his face as he tastes the product.

So, no, petting the roo is not the worst TV commercial ever made. It’s just another in a long string of six decades of wine TV ad failures.

Video courtesy of AmberVon, via YouTube

Is this the greatest TV wine commercial ever?

A small retailer’s TV wine commercial is better than the multi-million dollar efforts that make wine look snotty or  silly — or both

Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar is a small retailer in Roanoke, Va., hardly the epicenter of wine retail. So why did it run this ad, which can only be described as the greatest TV wine commercial ever?

It does everything that every wine ad from the past 60 years tries to do, but fails at miserably. This has been a regular complaint from those of us who care about wine; the idea that most commercials perpetuate wine’s pretentious image. It’s funny, but it makes its point. It makes fun of wine, but doesn’t lose focus. And it’s about the one thing every wine drinker cares about – buying quality wine at a fair price.

Would that more retailers and producers kept the ad’s tag line in mind this holiday season: “Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar: Where people shop who don’t want to get robbed.” (Video courtesy of MPA Weddings.com via YouTube.)

TV wine ad update: Does this Kim Crawford commercial make any sense?

Why would anyone think this Kim Crawford commercial would convince someone to buy the wine?

Another entry in the blog’s continuing effort to upgrade the quality of TV wine ads. Or, in this case, to understand what the point is of this Kim Crawford commercial – and why anyone would make it.

Because it’s certainly difficult to understand. “Undo ordinary?” As opposed to “Do ordinary”?

I suppose we should be grateful that it’s not as juvenile as this year’s Yellow Tail ad, or that it doesn’t resort to the the usual crowd of well-groomed, sun-burst young people laughing and drinking wine, with a dog frolicking in the background.

But that’s far from enough to make this Kim Crawford commercial successful. It’s especially disappointing that Constellation Brands, which owns Kim Crawford, is supposed to be one of the smartest wine marketers around, and should be able to do better than this. What does it say about TV wine ads that the company and its agency thought this effort was a good idea?

Video via Kim Crawford Wines on You Tube, using a Creative Commons license