Tag Archives: wine TV commercials

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

The fifth Super Bowl wine post

super bowl wineCan Yellow Tail pull off a Super Bowl wine ad winner?

This year’s Super Bowl wine post combines two of my least favorite things – the Super Bowl and TV wine advertising. Because Australia’s Yellow Tail, the best-selling import in the U.S., is advertising during the game on Sunday.

Which fits neatly into this almost annual post, which started when I discovered that Super Bowl Sunday was the worst day of the year for blog visitors, even worse than Christmas. I don’t know why this is, and I don’t want to think what it says about Americans, pro football, and how we celebrate Christmas.

Know that I haven’t watched the game since 1986, which was more or less the last time I got paid to watch it. Know, too, that I have tried desperately to raise the quality of TV wine commercials over the blog’s history, and to little avail. Rose and local wine were easy, compared to TV wine ads. For the most part, they’re still as awful as they’ve ever been – not very creative or clever while reinforcing every annoying wine stereotype.

Hopefully, the Yellow Tail ad will be different. For one thing, the company went to a lot of trouble to advertise, piecing together time in 70 local markets because it couldn’t buy a national ad; a beer company bought those rights for all booze ads for the game. Second, it is spending what the normally authoritative Ad Age reports as more than $5 million for a 30-second spot – the equivalent of some 60,000 cases of Yellow Tail.

But I don’t have high hopes. The company’s last TV ad was – to put it politely – a dud, and this quote, from Yellow Tail’s U.S. importer, doesn’t make the Super Bowl ad sound much better.

“And we think that if we bring the message that wine can be fun and that wine can be present in all of these occasions where you celebrate, we think we can make a big impact.”

Because that approach sounds a lot like this 1970s ad, which was also someone’s idea of fun.

More Super Bowl wine posts:
Once more into the Super Bowl breach
Why the Wine Curmudgeon doesn’t like the Super Bowl