Evolution of a Wine Ad


Creating an ad meant to be placed in the consumer wine magazines means you are creating an ad for two audiences: the dedicated wine consumer and the wine trade. It’s different than creating an ad for, say, Vanity Fair or People or Time Magazine. In fact, when you use Wine Spectator, Wine & Spirits Magazine, Wine Enthusiast, Wine News, etc. you really want an ad that will create an impression among retailers, restaurateurs and distributor sales people as much as the consumer.

That was a very important consideration behind the recent ad whose creation was chronicled here at Fermentations.

In that past post I asked Fermentations readers to comment on the picture to be used for the ad. The picture of the winery’s owner and his granddaughter was picked apart by a number of readers. Many of the comments were quite astute and many pointed out what we saw at Wark Communications as we went through the many shots at our disposal: 1) The granddaughter would get people’s attention but the owner was too set back, too "out of the picture". We fixed that.

Below is the final ad. We’ve all congratulated ourselves because we think it works. We think it introduces a new brand well by being attractive enough to stop the reader, quickly tells the story of experience and generations, and easily delivers money shots (brand and bottle).


The first job of an ad is to get the reader to stop for a moment in time and suspend their ongoing search though the medium for something of interest. After that, the ad is required to tell a story in moments. If the image of the ad alone can do this, you win big. But it rarely does. This is why ads have copy, particularly a headline. If the headline is provocative or interesting enough, it will do the job of drawing the reader into the body copy to flesh out he message and tell the entire tale.

We had a lot we wanted to say in this ad: "Experience, continuity, new brand, quality, Russian River Valley" We wanted to say this with the images and the headline. If the readers got down into the body copy they would learn even more.

We don’t do a lot of ads here at Wark Communications because our specialty is public relations. However, working as we choose to do with the small and medium sized wineries we do have our share of opportunities for this kind of work. I enjoy it.

This ad has been particularly enjoyable to do because I’ve worked with some really wonderful graphic designers and photographers and also because the clients were easy to work with, engaged and smart. But also, the input by Fermentations’ readers were an added dimension I didn’t originally expect to have that turned out to be of great value. Thank you one and all.

Posted In: Wine Business


5 Responses

  1. Mike - April 29, 2005

    Vast improvemnt on the four images that you gave us in the original post. Its a pity that you couldn’t crop a bit more out of the right hand side to allow the grand daughter to look a little less crowded into the other corner; I think there wasn’t that much to work with on the left anyway.
    All in all looks really well done. Makes me want to go out an buy the wine, even visit the winery when we are up there next, thou Miranda (my wife) would probably see through that pretty easily.

  2. Barbara - April 29, 2005

    Looks good Tom.

  3. Comfort Eagle - May 4, 2005

    I’m rooting for the Phoenix to rise from the ashes of DeLoach but I think you are wasting your money on an ad. Put your dollars into the quality of your product. As a suspicious consumer, I see advertising in the wine industry as needless upcharge to the product itself.

  4. tom - May 4, 2005

    The quality is there. This ad buy is relatively small and aimed mainly at letting the trade know the phoenix has risen. Fear not.

  5. Ernest - May 9, 2005

    I agree with Barbara. They need to better their hospitality. We have met many winos and growers who were put off or stiffed by this company and won’t try anything with their name on it.

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