yo, mama, now comes chateau time!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Yesterday’s New York Times carried an article that caught my roving eye. It was headlined “Marketing Wine as a Respite From Women’s Many Roles”.
link here
According to this piece, Chateau Ste. Michelle has developed a new ad campaign specifically targeting women – make that mothers – between the ages of 25 and 38. As I interpret it, the gist of this new initiative is to speak to the inner party girl that lurks inside the heart of every stressed-out mom, at least until she’s 39, at which point I guess she decides the hell with it and settles for a box of chocolates and a weepy soap opera or the latest episode of ‘Weeds.’

The illustration pictured here is one of the ads from the new campaign. I come from an advertising background myself, and Mrs. G spent the better part of her working life making ads, notably the legendary Rainier beer commercials, so we have an interest in these things.

The pitch seems to be that women are juggling many roles – nothing new about that – and need permission to treat themselves to a small luxury, in this case, a glass of wine. Looking at the ad shown here, I can’t seem to find the wine. Maybe it’s in there subliminally, hidden in the background like those old picture puzzles where you hunted for various objects woven into the main image.

“Me + a glass of wine – every disruption known to man = my chateau” is how the copy reads. Whatever. The copy is incidental at best; it’s the picture that tells the story, n’est-ce pas? So what else is going on here? Well, before we leave the words entirely, shouldn’t they read “every disruption known to woman”? Who the hell cares about disruptions to men? They’re off fishing and drinking beer with their buddies. This is about female disruptions – cramps, crying babies, door-to-door salespeople.

Let’s turn our attention to the image. What’s up with the giant, anime-inspired Mom float? She looks like something out of the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade! Where’s Bullwinkle? She’s kind of a babe-let in that red dress with the décolletage and showing the saucy bit of thigh. Yet she’s oddly childlike at the same time. That childlike impression is further amplified by the dollhouse she is floating above.

So we have a child woman, presumably drinking a hidden glass of (forbidden!) vino, reading what has to be “50 Shades of Grey”, in front of a mountainous landscape with what appears to be a red carpet running over the top of it.

Does any of this make you want to reach for a glass of chardonnay? Ladies, please, weigh in. Lord knows I am well beyond the 25 to 38 demographic, and clearly belong to the wrong gender. It doesn’t speak to me. What say you?


13 comments:

Anonymous said...

And what about the weird cut and paste angle of the head on that body. This looks like a prototype ad done by the intern team. It reads like a direct to tv adaptation promo poster of Alice in Wonderland (or the like). Nothing to do with wine whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they were going for an updated take on Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz?! It looks like she just flew out of her life (all dolled up) and landed (butt first) on top of someone else's life. She's going to need more than a glass of wine to soothe that aching tushie. Bizarre!

Shona Milne said...

I thought the large woman on the rooftops was odd but why are they mentioning "every disruption know to man" when they are selling to women? Where's the wine?

Anonymous said...

As a member of this ad's target demographic, I find this kind of campaign insulting. I'm looking for interesting, well-made wines, and I don't need an excuse to enjoy them.

Anonymous said...

The whole thing actually kind of gives me the creeps... If that image is supposed to represent the kind of women that drink their product all I can think is "Hell no!" I don't want to be like that. No sell.

Anonymous said...

This woman looks to be lost in the novel that she's reading, not in the wine she could be drinking. This should be an add for a publisher or a library. If anything the picture might entice young men to begin reading so that they may find such dames.

That's ok, advertising depts. screw this stuff up all the time. Personally it gladdens my heart to see such a huge winery produce such a flop.

Anonymous said...

They better do something quick...Gallo is coming, Gallo is coming!

Anonymous said...

Using the phrase "known to man" when targeting women, leaving out the glass of wine when trying to sell wine, and using a cartoon to market to adult women...this is an example of bad marketing plain and simple. What really strikes me, is that the NYT article didn't pick up on any of this. And not to harp on this, but really, "known to man"? I thought we were past that by now.

Jo Diaz said...

Jo Diaz, here...

You hit the nail on the head... I'm laughing my butt off... as old as it is. maybe because this ad isn't targeted to an older demographic of women, I'm on your side with, "Who was in charge of this campaign?"

Catie said...

What's missing is some Tampax, Midol, Monastat, and a box of Tide. According to most TV commercials, that's all a woman focuses on. Damn those troublesome vaginas and dirty laundry.

So at least they got the outfit right - don't all women lounge around in something low cut, red and slinky?

Serena Gordon said...

It would be one thing if the book was replace with a glass of wine, and then also if the woman was sitting higher up on the hill overlooking all the chaos below her. Chateau St. Michelle seems to be pushing the correlation between Chateau & Home more than Wine & Reward - which would push the consumers to the Chateau brand versus any other wine... However, that presumes that people even recognize the association. It might be quick for those of us in the wine industry to associate Chateau with House... yet the innumerable times that I have spent behind a tasting table translating French terminology (i.e. Chateau, cuvee, domaine...) to English tells me that most people won't do the mental work for this ad to work. Besides, isn't the point of the message that they are trying to convey is that women need to take a break from all the various ways that "man" tosses work at women?

As a member of this demographic I find that I don't relate to this ad at all. Aside from the language barriers I also find this ad "Skirting" around the point that it is trying to make and the only imagery that I really have lasting in my mind is that of the Attack of the 50 foot woman - doesn't that sound relaxing?

Stephanie LaMonica said...

they also seem to forget the saying, "a MAN's home is his castle." that seems like a great leap they're expecting women to make, to take back that castle and make it theirs. hell, they should've included the line, "I'm the lord of my chateau!"

what takes from this ungainly campaign even MORE than what has been pointed out in comments above is that the campaign is PRIMARILY for women, but it's not for them completely. the Chateau itself floats quotes by any gender for "what's your chateau" on its FB page. a something-for-everyone approach, like their wine, so at least they got that marketing bit right.

Anonymous said...

I think its a fancy ad for their Facebook page, look at the small print. I like the older ad with the girl in a cafe.

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