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.
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.)
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?
The Aussie wine company, whose $7 label is the best-selling import in the U.S., was so excited about the success of its Super Bowl TV ad, reports the Wine Spectator, that the company plans “to pursue a three-year campaign (estimated to cost more than $40 million) centered on TV spots. It’s an unusual venue for promoting wine.”
No kidding, especially since the ad – to put it nicely – was terrible (and you’ll have to click the link to see the ad, since I’m not linking to it again). It caused a furor in its native Australia, eliciting comments like “it humiliated my country,” while the humor that was supposed to be its selling point was about as funny as a Dostoevsky novel. “Pet my roo?” indeed.
But an official for Yellow Tail’s U.S. distributor said the ad boosted sales and social media impressions, so they’re ready to spend the equivalent of 476,190 cases of Yellow Tail for the next round of TV.
Perhaps. But the Wine Curmudgeon should note two things, as part of my campaign to rescue TV wine advertising from its decades-long misery. First, increasing Yellow Tail sales 19 percent by volume and 13 percent by dollars in the ad’s aftermath doesn’t necessarily mean the ad did any good; it could just as easily reflect steep discounting by retailers to move wine that they bought in anticipation of the ad. Second, that the ad generated social media buzz may not be a good thing, since I have a feeling many of the tweets were like this one:
And, because sex sells, we learn that if we drink Bolla, we can get a hot chick. This is the one constant over the past 40 years of silly TV wine ads, and like most of the claims in these ads, there is little truth to it. I was there, and we didn’t. We didn’t even drink wine; we drank beer. Lowenbrau, in fact, to impress a girl. (Video courtesy of Vintage Wine Commercials at YouTube.)