Wine Isn’t Funny

I was sent the video below and laughed upon viewing it. I laughed hard. It could never find airing on any network or channel in this country. Still…very funny. (Kids, avert your eyes)

But here’s the thing. This video file is labeled "Best Beer Commercial". It got me thinking, what about the "best wine commercial".

I went to Google and typed in "Best Beer Commercial". To quote Google: "About 50,500" pages with these words are indexed with the search engine.
Then I searched on "Best Wine Commercial". Google says 5 such pages with these words are indexed in the search engine.

This bit of GoogleMinutia should give us an idea of just how insignificant video is to the sales and marketing of wine in the United States. Much of it has to do with the relative size of the U.S. wine market vs the U.S beer market.

This commercial also brings up another set of questions: Is Wine Funny? Should it be Funny? Can it be funny? Would it help sales if it were funny?

We all know beer is funny. When was the last time you saw a beer commercial that was even remotely serious. Maybe ironic. Maybe celebratory. But in the main, beer is presented as being the source of comedy when presented in television commercials. Have you ever seen a funny wine commercial presented on television? How about on radio? What about in print? (maybe a few in print) I’m sure there must be some examples of funny mass-marketing for wine. But I just can’t recall it.

After all, what’s funny about having to spend the equivalent of over $100 per gallon to drink a good wine?

Posted In: Wine Business


12 Responses

  1. Erica - September 3, 2008

    It is a good point – wine as a whole does not have a “funny” personality, but there are wineries that are having fun with their product and with their marketing efforts.
    Take, for example, Roshambo Winery, who put together this commercial (very low budget, but I think quite high impact).

    Beer AS A WHOLE has tackled their marketing efforts with the “beer-drinker’s” sense of humor in mind. There are beer producers who take themselves a little more seriously than others, but as a whole, when I think of beer advertising (print, radio, television) I think “funny” (the “Real American Heroes” spots, for instance, SLAY me).
    Wine AS A WHOLE has not adopted a similar approach to their advertising efforts. I wonder if is because the “wine drinker” has not been shown to have a sense of humor to appeal to? Or is it, as you say, because there’s nothing to laugh about when shelling out $10 for a 6 oz. pour at your local restaurant.

  2. Julian - September 3, 2008

    I’m wondering which country Guinness did advertise in with that. Australia, maybe? Too strong for England or Ireland, I reckon.

  3. Randy - September 3, 2008

    Yes, that is one funny beer commercial! Definitely NSFW.
    The funniest “wine-oriented” commercials I ever recall were the Gallo “Bartles & Jaymes” ads way back in the 80’s. Figure in that those were a “beverage with wine in it”, and it still falls somewhat short.
    Which points to the fundamental problem. The wine businesses with the means to have such advertisements made are either courting the low end wine market (competing head-to-head against beer) or ultra-premium winery portfolios. The latter have no interest in funny ads because they are still going after the 50-and-older wine drinking crowd.
    I just chatted with my sister about this last night, in fact. I was related a tale about “brand managers” at a very well known Napa winery owned by a conglomerate. The brand manager was adamant that the appropriate name be used for the winery, so as not to “dilute the brand” because it was a luxury brand and he is courting the 50+ age group.
    Mainstream wineries and the conglomerates need to quickly realize that the baby boomer market is not going to last forever, and waiting until the Millenials are in their 30’s or 40’s may be too late to indoctrinate them as wine consumers.
    But then, this is just my opinion. 🙂

  4. el jefe - September 3, 2008

    Well, cheese can cost as much per serving as wine, and those cows are hilarious.
    And that would be a brand manager’s job after all, and I understand his adamancy. If you want to raise my hackles, say “Twisted Oaks”!
    I know that Roshambo has done some funny web only videos. And that is something I would be doing too if I had the budget and personal bandwidth. Maybe next year.
    We DID however do a reasonably funny radio ad that played locally last year – here is a link to it:
    While this radio ad may have done us some good in branding with the locals there was no real way to measure it, and ultimately was a kind of expensive experiment that we probably won’t repeat soon.

  5. Benito - September 3, 2008

    How about the outtakes of a drunk Orson Welles praising Paul Masson sparkling wine?

    Wine print ads are pretty serious, similar to ads for other luxury products like perfume and expensive cars. I’m surprised Grateful Palate hasn’t made some inroads into humor with their quirky wines.

  6. Jack - September 3, 2008

    Lame commercial.

  7. Richard Shaffer - September 3, 2008

    NO doubt many wine people take themselves WAY too seriously.
    We need to Bring Sexy Back to wine (sexy in the sense of fun, excitement, playfulness).

  8. Morton Leslie - September 3, 2008

    I got that commercial from a college friend who sends me every joke that has pictures of nude women with big breasts. His second favorite thing is beer. Third favorite is fat women in thongs.
    Wine drinkers could never do something funny like that because we’re too inhibited to even drink out of a bottle. (Though some of us could possibly forget our inhibitions for that sort of action.) Can someone explain the girl’s hand from down below? I know what the two guys are doing, but what do you think she is doing down there?
    You will probably be getting a wmv file called How_do_you_like_your beer. It’s about Max beer…the beer with head.

  9. Thomas Pellechia - September 4, 2008

    I like funny, and the wine industry certainly isn’t very funny, but I hate it when sex is used to sell products, especially alcohol. It’s too “frat boy” for me, and it plays into he MADD hands–the left ones, they are of course using their right ones…

  10. Dylan - September 4, 2008

    It depends on what you consider serious for beer commercials, but they definitely exist. In fact, most of Sam Adam’s television spots are made of segments regarding their awards, brewmaster or company. Recently, Miller has taken on that approach with their TV Spots. Believe it or not, the other day on the subway in NYC, AB the beer king of comedy was doing print ads that centered on the beers craftsmanship. Beer commercials being labeled as funny and “in the main” only come from AB’s usually large command for their share of voice. You see more of their funny ads for beer than anyone else’s.
    There is likely room for laughs in the wine category for its messaging. I haven’t been at a table with wine where we didn’t share laughs. Even at the post-funeral meal for my grandmother everyone was drinking wine and laughing about good times they had with her in their lives. To me, laughter and wine are linked, but there isn’t much opportunity in the way it’s marketed. There are funny wines. I have seen some funny labels and the branding/’story on the bottle’ itself will give the product a certain light-hearted attitude.
    A whole category cannot be labeled funny or serious. It’s all about the individual brand/product, the share of voice it has, and what that voice should be.

  11. Uncle Milty - September 5, 2008

    Jack: Did they put the stick up your ass during the sense of humor removal or was there a second procedure for that?

  12. sgirlie - September 6, 2008

    That commercial is actually quite offensive. I’m surprised you put it on your site.

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