what’s really being sold in wine ads?

Monday, April 02, 2012

Thumbing through the pages of the latest edition of Wine Enthusiast, I decided to just pull the lead taglines out of the full page ads. These are not cheaply or carelessly thrown together. Full page magazine advertising requires a lot of creative planning, copy writing, design, and often market research as well. The brief headline is the culmination of all that. Its purpose in most instances is to sell wine – either a specific wine, a group of wines, or a wine producing region.

Here are some representative headlines – with the actual brand names removed.

“Rich is always a good thing”

“Richness Redefined”

“Free yourself from boredom”

“Live Lively!”

“Experience the intrigue”

“Passion Inspired by Place”

“Place Matters”

“Talent loves details”

So.... what exactly are we to make of this? What is being sold, and how?

It strikes me that these slogans could be talking about anything – there is no clue that it is wine that is the product. Granted, the visuals supply that information. But what are the words trying to prove?

The first two are hanging their product’s hat on the concept of richness. Well, we all like richness. That’s a no brainer, albeit a bit amorphous. The next three are in the “Just Do It!” mold. They are commands; they are telling readers to get off their butts and put a little romance into their lives. If I’m bored, lifeless, or living a predictable existence with no surprises, perhaps I will be inspired to change jobs, partners, or residences to shake things up. But actually they just want me to buy a bottle of wine. Probably a much easier decision to make.

The last three are the only taglines that actually relate to a wine concept – terroir. They don’t use the Terrible ‘T’ word, thankfully. But do consumers really connect most wines with place? Probably not.

The take-away for me at least is that advertisers are struggling here. They certainly want to sell their product and give consumers some reason to make a purchase decision. But apparently, at least in this un-scientific survey, actually talking about the wine doesn’t cut it.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love the tag line: "Place Matters" mostly because the line almost lies by not telling the entire truth.

http://www.ncwgoodlife.com/_blog/Alex_on_Wine/post/Does_it_matter_where_a_wine_comes_from/

Alex Saliby

Amy @ VineSleuth Uncorked said...

What a shame that wineries won't just market their wines by, well, telling us about their wines. Isn't that what we want to know about when making a decision on which to buy and try next?

Stephanie LaMonica said...

i guess the wine doesn't [cut it]. too much uninteresting wine out there, as far as big-budget brands go (and really, many others, too -- how many more "world-class" and "region-like" copy cats does the wine world need?), providing creative teams VERY little to work with when formulating an ad. hence the no-tug full-pagers.

the good thing is, thankfully, due to the economy, there have been fewer of these snore ads staring at us.

PaulG said...

Stephanie, I agree. Only the big guys can afford big ad budgets, and they rarely have the most interesting wines.

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