Twelve unsettling wine commercials

You don’t see many TV ads for wine these days, and these examples may partly explain why.

Premier Estates Taste the Bush (2015)
An ad so bad it got banned. Whether that was deserved more for its feeble humour or the general inappropriateness is a moot point. We detect the paw-prints here of a couple of male 20-year-old interns whose brains short-circuited when they made the bush/pubic hair connection. Chortle!

Orson Welles likes Paul Masson California Champagne (Outtake)
Never work with children, animals or ageing film icons. It appears that a lubricated Orson Welles has been unwittingly parachuted onto the set of Abigail’s Party. He emits a fabulous Shakespearian wail, Brian Blessed-style, before scratching his nose and falling asleep. Cut. Take 21.

Bolla Valpolicella (1978)
Straight from the Mills & Boon school of wine commercials. When a lone “soft” woman is drinking wine made for “people who are in love” and catches the eye of a “full-bodied” moustachioed man who is also drinking wine made for “people who are in love”, it’s obvious: they fall in love. Who needs Tinder?

Free Alcohol at Oddbins (1994)
A clarion call to all alkies in the area to get down to their local offie for a massive Saturday booze-up, on the house. Oscar Grillo’s illustrations are a little spooky anyway, but when his creations are animated with their proboscises probing and rippling in and out of wine glasses, they are positively disturbing.

Black Tower gets a Bit Breathless (1980)
Imagine if Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr got lost on their way to the film set of From Here to Eternity. But then they find a mountain stream with cascading water and crashing euphemisms accompanied by a breathy and urgent voiceover. And, ooh, look: a bottle of huh-white wine, from the land of the Rhine, no less. How refreshing.

Inglenook: ‘Here’s to the Way You Love Me’ (1978)
It’s your anniversary: hide your husband’s cufflinks and lead him to a bottle of “superior” wine, intended to be enjoyed with … oh my god, what the hell is that on the table? It could be a lobster, a deformed chicken, or if you close one eye and squint, a really huge carrot. Not what you’d hope for “when the toast is from your heart”.

Casillero del Diablo v Man Utd (2011)
It seems pointless giving Wayne Rooney stick for his footballing or driving exploits when you can instead abuse his acting shortcomings in this ill-conceived celebration of Casillero del Diablo’s tie-up with Man Utd: “The boss says that a new devil is arriving. They say. He is a legend.” A meteorite smashes into the Old Trafford pitch. Wayne strokes his chin. The end.

The Spar Wine Connoisseur (2017)

Everyone outside the wine trade has a vague caricature in their mind of what a “wine connoisseur” looks like, and here he is, cravat and all, in this tiresome trailer for a Spar wine promotion in South Africa, slurping and gargling while looking to the heavens for divine inspiration, which is probably what the director should have done.

Harvey’s Bristol Cream Provokes Class War (1987)
“Drinking the drink that’s socially right” is a tricky slogan for almost any alcoholic beverage. We can’t imagine it was a verifiable claim for Harvey’s even in 1987, though quite what would be the correct thing to serve this rag-tag assembly of “upper crusty” lunatics on Christmas Eve is anyone’s guess. Some sort of medication, maybe?

Boones Farm Mountain Wine (Year Unknown)
Grandpa Boone can “hardly talk he is so delighted” with his new grape wine. But a furious “mountain man” barges through the crowd, slamming his fist on the table: “I’ll try that wine, and it’d better be good,” he growls. Hang on a minute. That’s no mountain man. That’s Robert Parker! Or maybe his dad.

Le Piat d’Or Endorses Sexism (1981)
Les Francais didn’t really adore Piat d’Or then, any more than they like objectifying women now. The wine reminds the besuited monsieur of his wife, not because it’s “stylish”, “subtle” or “elegant”, but because the bottle’s curves look a bit like her bum, assuming you’ve consumed two or three bottles of the ghastly stuff. Charmant, non?

Hey Hey Hey Hey Mateus Rosé (1971)
“Run away from home tonight, with Mateus” is arguably the least enticing opening line in the history of advertising copywriting. Life is never that bad, surely, for anyone. Yet watch as a young couple cavort in “the cobbled streets of yesterday” with a bottle of “Matoos” for company.

This article appears in the November edition of The Wine Merchant.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s