Tag Archives: TV wine ads

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

The horror, the horror: Return of the Yellow Tail TV ad

Yellow Tail TV adBrace yourself: Yellow Tail says its Super Bowl ad worked so well that it’s going to make $40 million more of them

Who needs movies with an alien jumping out of someone’s chest? Or a lunatic running around with a chainsaw? We’re going to have more Yellow Tail TV ads.

The horror, the horror!”

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:

Please, Yellow Trail, change your mind. The wine world has enough problems as it is without any more roo petting.

TV wine ads: Almost 40 years of awful

One of the great mysteries about wine: Why did Americans ever take to it, given how difficult it is to understand and how badly wine has traditionally been marketed?

Case in point is this Bolla commercial from 1978, which more or less coincides with the first increase in wine’s popularity in the U.S. Why would anyone want to drink wine based on the commercial, which doesn’t make much sense? How can a wine be both soft and full-bodied? And even then, marketers focused on what we think of today as “smooth,” making sure to call a red wine soft.

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.)

More about TV wine ads:
Riunite on ice — so nice
When Blue Nun ruled the world
TV wine commercials and their legacy
How wine commercials on TV have changed — or not