This 1971 Mateus rose ad may explain why it took so long for rose to become popular in the U.S.
Mateus was what passed for rose in those long ago days before the U.S. wine boom — a sweetish, fizzy pink wine from Portugal made with grapes that were obscure even then.
It was huge in the late 1960s and early 1970s, selling some 10 million cases a year. Those are Barefoot numbers, but in a much smaller U.S. wine market. What sold Mateus rose was the bottle — more youth oriented than the traditional 750 ml effort, and perfect for using as a candlestick while drinking the wine and listening to Carole King’s “Tapestry.” In fact, you can buy Mateus bottles on eBay, and the wine itself is still around, too — $5 a bottle, and tasting pretty much like it always has.
The ad misses the point of Mateus’ popularity. Why would Portugal be a selling point for the wine (and the less said about the jingle, the better)? But that it misses the point is not surprising. It is a wine ad, after all.
Video courtesy of robatsea2009 via YouTube
More about TV wine ads:
• TV wine ads: San Giuseppe Wines, because you can never have too much bare skin in a wine ad
• TV wine ads: King Solomon wine, because “Tonight … the king is in town”
• TV wine ads: Almost 40 years of awful
This 2016 ad for San Giuseppe Wines reminds us that when in doubt, flash some skin
One constant throughout the Wine Curmudgeon’s TV wine ad survey has been model-quality men and women baring their skin. Which is exactly the case with this ad for San Giuseppe Wines, an Italian label that sells for about $12. How much longer could the shot last when the guy pulls himself out of the water?
My guess, since the ad is for pinot grigio, is that the swimmer is supposed to appeal to the pinot grigio demographic — the infamous women of a certain age who buy almost all the pinot grigio in the U.S. The ad’s goal? Get them all hot and bothered so they will race to the store to buy San Giuseppe.
In this, it’s not necessarily any worse than any of the others in our TV wine ad survey. It’s just more of the same. Is it any wonder I worry about the future of the wine business?
Video courtesy of QUE Productions via YouTube
This 1984 King Solomon wine commercial knows what it’s about: “33 percent more wine than the regular size”
The Wine Curmudgeon’s TV wine ad survey has found the good (very little), the bad (almost all) and now this — a 1984 spot on a local Philadelphia station for something called King Solomon wine.
This ad is odd, and not just because of its content. For one thing, Pennsylvania was a control state (and still mostly is), so the only place to buy King Solomon wine would have been a state store. And, given this is a concord wine sold because it’s cheap, it’s difficult to believe a state store would have carried it. Apparently, the company that marketed it was well known in Philadelphia, producing a variety of off-brand spirits and wines. so maybe it had some clout with the state.
The other thing I can’t figure out: What does a genie have to do with the Biblical King Solomon?
Still, the ad is on message: The wine is cheap, there’s a lot of it, and it will get you drunk — “a big, bold, two-fisted wine.” How many other TV wine ads actually say what they mean?
Video courtesy of Hugo Faces via YouTube
This early 1980s John Gielgud Paul Masson TV commercial is no “Arthur”
Did John Gielgud see a chance to play off his Oscar-winning role in “Arthur” and make a ton of money for very little work? Because, otherwise, there’s very little that makes sense in this early 1980s commercial for Paul Masson.
It’s not especially funny — ridiculing modern art was tired and old even then. And, as wine marketing guru Paul Tinknell has discussed on the blog, it makes the same mistake most TV wine ads do: It doesn’t focus on those of us who actually drink wine, but tries to make wine something that it isn’t. Most of us drink wine with dinner. Most of us don’t drink wine at art openings; in fact, most of us don’t even go to art openings.
The other oddity here? The wine business’ use of noted Shakespearean actors like Gielgud and James Mason for TV commercials through the mid-1980s. It’s probably an attempt — a very weak attempt — to make ordinary wine seem more high end. All it does, of course, iPauls make it look silly.
Video courtesy of Sean Mc via YouTube
More about TV wine ads:
• TV wine ads: Drink Black Tower, invade a foreign country?
• Wine business: Watch this beer spot to see how TV wine ads should be done
• What was James Mason doing making a Thunderbird TV commercial?
More examples showing that wine marketing lacks imagination and doesn’t focus on why people drink wine
Last week’s podcast with Sonoma wine marketing guru Paul Tincknell elicited a fair amount of comment, especially since it ran at the end of the summer when most people have other things to do besides listen to podcasts about the decades-long failure of wine marketing.
As one reader emailed me: “Commercials showing people drinking grocery store wine at swank parties? People get paid for coming up with that stuff?”
Paul received some feedback, too. A colleague shared data with him about a 2009 wine consumption survey: “The results,” Paul emailed me, “are fascinating and confirm that – guess what! – people drink wine with family and friends at meals or in casual situations.” The colleague told Paul that the survey results were given to almost every important wine marketing and trade group in the country, but that, “of course, the industry immediately ignored their work.”
In other words, the business has known for at least a decade how U.S. consumers enjoy wine and the best way to market to them: Show people drinking wine at dinner with their friends and family. That hardly seems like a creative reach. (And we’re not the only ones who have seen this — check out this rant from Paul Mabray, who is generally regarded as one of best wine and consumer experts in the country).
Instead, we get epic silliness like the Kim Crawford “Undo ordinary” commercial, a long-time favorite of blog readers. And, no, it didn’t get an almost unprecedented 33 comments or become one of the blog’s most visited posts because everyone thought it was cutting edge genius.
In fact, Kim Crawford (owned by Big Wine’s Constellation Brands) seems to go out of its way to show up in these kinds of analyses. Paul sent me two especially foolish commercials; the one that made me giggle the most is at the top of this post, called “Make it Amazing.” Who knew I had sway my butt just so to be a cool, sophisticated wine drinker? The other, called “Elevate the Moment,” looks like something from a short-lived 1990s PBS series about rich people.
Is it any wonder I worry about the future of the wine business?
Video courtesy of Kim Crawford Wines via YouTube using a Creative Commons license
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