Where’s the Creativity In Wine Advertising?

I spent some time this morning with Wine Spectator and while the magazine offers some interesting editorial like “The Top 100 Most Exciting Wines of 2009,” the ads don’t stand up. It’s just one beauty shot of the bottle after the next. In fact, the strategy is so stale it would be relatively easy to stand out in a crowd like this. Simply refuse to show the bottle. Heresy, I know.
Relying on the hero shot of the bottle may lead people to find it on the shelf (I know that’s the idea), but why not go one better and give people a reason to look for the bottle at retail? You do this by using story to create intrigue. That’s advertising’s role, and when it plays its role perfectly, ads drive people to spend time with the brand online and at retail.
This is the desired progression: advertising > Web content > retail and events. Not just for wine, for all products and services with marketing dollars to invest.
There is one ad in the current issue of Wine Spectator that attempts to change the pace, ever so slightly. It’s from Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington state’s founding winery. The ad takes the lifestyle route, placing an emphasis on where wine can be enjoyed–in this case at home in the kitchen while preparing a meal with friends and family. The ad also drives readers to the MyChateau feature of the brand’s Web site, where you can keep track of the wine’s you’ve enjoyed and what food pairings you’ve explored.
Once on the site there’s a clear emphasis on Events, for it’s a top-level navigation option. So, Chateau Ste. Michelle knows how to make wine and how to sell it.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.