Tag Archives: TV wine ads

TV wine ad survey: Hochtaler box wine – even Canadians miss the point

Hochtaler box wine uses a “Cabaret” knockoff ad to sell its sweet white wine, which probably isn’t what the film had in mind

Film buffs know the social, cultural, and political significance of “Cabaret,” the 1972 musical starring Liza Minelli, Michael York, and Joel Grey. So why did Canada’s Hochtaler box wine use a “Cabaret”-themed ad to sell its products in the early 1980s?

Hochtaler, writes the blog’s official Canadian correspondent, has long been famous in Canada – call it the Franzia of the Great White North, boxed wine for cat ladies who say “eh.” In this, Hochtaler is local, made with Canadian grapes by a Canadian producer.

“It’s very sweet,” writes our correspondent. “I’m guessing it was a hit with young people new to wine and older wine drinkers who like the name, which sounds European, and how sweet it is.”

Nevertheless, the ad features a nightclub scene with a chanteuse doing her best Liza Minnelli, complete with German accent, top hat, and tails. It hardly seems appropriate for this kind of wine, but the ads were apparently quite popular.

And you can still buy Hochtaler – C$14.95 for a 1.5-liter bottle at your local Ontario provincial store.

Video courtesy of robatsea2009 via YouTube, using a Creative Commons license

More about TV wine ads:
TV wine ads: Almost 40 years of awful
TV wine ad survey: Richards Wild Irish Rose
TV wine ad survey: 1970s Boone’s Farm Wild Mountain

TV wine ad survey: 1980s Richards Wild Irish Rose

Constellation Brands sold its birthright in this month’s $1.7 billion fire sale to E&J Gallo — Richards Wild Irish Rose is the brand that made the company wealthy

There were many surprises when Constellation Brands sold 30 of its labels to E&J Gallo this month, but perhaps the most surprising was that Richards Wild Rose was included in the deal. The sweet fortified wine was named after Richard Sands, the son of company founder Marvin Sands (and who would eventually become its chairman when Constellation  expanded around the world). How important was Richards Wild Irish Rose to Constellation’s success? As late as the beginning of this century, it was selling 30 million cases a year. Those are Barefoot numbers.

Obviously, those sales weren’t because of this commercial. It’s not as offensive as some, and it’s certainly not as stupid. Rather, it’s almost bland, as if the ad agency can’t decide how to market a product with a less than stellar reputation. And I can’t figure out why the blonde playing the bass is in the band, other than to shake her very 1980s hair.

Video courtesy of tvdays via You Tube

TV wine ad survey: 1970s Boone’s Farm Wild Mountain

How bad is this TV wine ad for Boone’s Farm? As bad as they come, unfortunately

The one thing that has been sadly consistent during the blog’s historical survey of TV wine ads is their incompetence. Past incompetent, actually, in which the infamous Orson Welles Paul Masson commercial is merely bad.

The latest example? This TV wine ad for Boone’s Farm Wild Mountain “grape wine” from the early 1970s. Those of a certain age will remember Boone’s Farm as the stuff one got drunk on as a teenager; those not of a certain age will be glad they don’t have to remember it.

The Boone’s Farm ad is so awful that it doesn’t require any more analysis. Watch and groan. And then wonder why TV ad quality hasn’t improved all that much between then and today. Right, Roo?

Video courtesy of KTtelClassics via You Tube

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