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The Ad Campaign of the Year

Let’s be honest with ourselves—99.9% of all wine advertising in glossy magazines is horrible.  It says very little of anything to anybody and is largely anonymous with zero level of creativity.

Kendall-Jackson isn’t even an exception, they just run so much advertising (at least in the magazines I read) that they are familiar and almost ubiquitous, but not necessarily good.  Their tagline of, “A Taste of Truth” is far from compelling. 

I couldn’t even tell you the other wines that regularly advertise in Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Wine & Spirits, Quarterly Review of Wines, Wine Press or any other magazine—I have virtually no recall, which isn’t a good thing. 

For once, I would like to see a wine ad that is contemporary and tries to build a brand by targeting a specific demo. with compelling creative.  Instead, we get the same warmed over wine lifestyle aspirational ads.  Snooze.  Yawn.  Boring.

Here’s an idea—it’s not even mine; but I wish somebody in the wine business would steal it - tap into the human condition and the maturing of Gen. Y (I’ll even forsake asking for relevant advertising for my demo - Gen. X)—and the passage of time that happens for everybody when they cross the chasm of seeing their parents as authority figures to when they become friends with their parents on equal (or near equal) footing.  It happens around age 25 or 26, I think.

In fact, that’s what Canadian Club whiskey is doing in brilliant ads that have been running this year ...  not only are they playing into the notion of your Dad probably being pretty cool back in the day, they are turning it into something that makes you want to pour a CC on the rocks and look through old photo albums.

My favorite ad?  “Your Dad Was Not a Metrosexual.”  Classic.  And, true.  My Dad doesn’t drink Canadian Club, but he does drink Stroh’s—fired brewed goodness, according to the can.  Wine?  Not so much.

Bonus points if an old wine brand re-emerges with something hip—Blue Nun, Mateus, Carlo Rossi in a jug, or Cold Duck.

For inspiration, here are three current Canadian Club ads that hit exactly the right balance of kitschy cool, nostalgia, authenticity and voice.





Posted in, Wine: A Business Doing Pleasure. Permalink | Comments (10) |


On 12/05, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

I find this subject fascinating. The task of targeting the right market segment with the right pitch. I think the idea of gen x or gen y or baby boomer groups, for example, is a less useful way of looking at the U.S. market while the old VALS (values lifestyle) system is still applicable. I see the VALS sub-groups within gen x or gen y or baby boomer set. My gen y son has friends who will be innovators, achievers, thinkers, experiencers,believers, strivers, makers and probably a few survivors. The first six are potential wine drinkers and possible to influence, but how do you make your brand appeal to innovators who are the leading edge of change and who look for the finest things,  as well as appeal to the achievers and strivers who only ask for brands that which show off one’s success.  To me Canadian Club has written off the top groups and see their market as some weak strivers,but mostly the low resource group of young believers and makers. True innovators, achievers and especially experiencers would not be swayed by the idea of “Dad’s drink.”

On 12/05, Jeff wrote:

Hi Morton,

Thanks for the thoughtful comment. 

While I’m not overly familiar with VALS, I am familiar with Claritas Prizm which goes far deeper into micro-segmentation:;=&pageName=Segment+Look-up

While neither of us are a target, per se, for the advertising, I do think that this advertising resonates with a wider swath of young people then you may give them credit.

A search of the Internet reveals that this is a wildly successful campaign.  Now, I haven’t correlated this to sales data, but at least one aspect is working—creating advertising that breaks through the clutter.

Ultimately, I don’t like whiskey on the rocks, but I have heard that Manhattans have made a big comeback, so maybe folks are starting to ask for a CC Manhattan.

Thanks again for the meaningful comment.


On 12/05, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

If they were marketing the top groups they should have resurrected prohibition era packaging and done one of these adds except about what your grandpa first drank in a speakeasy.

On 12/06, mydailywine wrote:

I heartily agree on all points. I never look at glossy magazine ads. Except lately, my eye has been pulled towards these CC ads as well.
Clever but not condescending.

The problem is more likely the makeup of the board members of these corporations, not necessarily the advertising companies.

My brother is in advertising and often bemoans the fact that his most innovative work never sees the light of day. With few exceptions, he primarily older male board members don’t get it.
Don’t even get me started on the ridiculous and patronizing ads they run to supposedly attract the female consumer. Talk about missing the mark!

On 12/07, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

Carlo Rossi did try something similar to this a few years ago, at least in their online marketing. I don’t think they tried to run an ad campaign. But, they did (in these marketing efforts) reposition Carlo Rossi into that “retro-cool” segment. They had a road show and had Carlo Rossi furniture designs, etc. It wasn’t a bad idea and a decent way to breathe new life into a decidedly old-skewing brand. But, the failure was that they didn’t really carry through with the effort. Maybe it didn’t test well, I don’t know. But, here is the website:

It’s badly outdated now, which is a cardinal sin of the Internet, I think… especially for a brand that’s trying to re-invent itself. Letting it get this outdated is just another example of how old and lifeless the brand is. If they don’t care enough about it to at least remove “upcoming events” announcements from mid-2007, why should we care enough to think about buying the brand?

Regardless, wine companies are definitely not doing enough to reach out to the Millennial generation. It’s a huge market that it seems like people are just expecting will continue to enjoy wine. It’s a difficult project, marketing to the 25-30 age group but not appearing to target the under-21 segment, but it’s one that other companies (like Canadian Club) are finding a way to be successful. Go to it, wine industry!

On 12/08, Jeff wrote:

Hi Mary-Colleen,

Thanks for the comment!

I tend to agree with you that it’s a fine line to do advertising and marketing that doesn’t fall into the Joe Camel trap of appealing to an underage audience. 

But, as you note, it’s doable by appealing to a more adult sensibility - if somebody started doing colleg-esque sophomoric humor, like a bunch of stuff you see on YouTube, I think we would all raise an eyebrow, but it is possible to appeal to a young twentysomething’s desire and sense of growing sophistication couched in language that resonates.

We’ll see if somebody takes up the charge.  Right now, Sacre Bleu wine is doing the best job of it and its on a small scale.

Thanks again for reading and my regards,


On 01/04, Dan wrote:

Nintendo Wii can do it all. It can help you get physically fit, it can provide hours of off-of-the-couch fun, and it makes the best damned marketing case study.

The “Wii Would Like to Play” campaign by Leo Burnett won the Grand Effie at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York on Wednesday night. The Effie Awards celebrates advertising that successfully builds brands and sells products. Cool-looking, ultra-creative ads that didn’t make a ripple in sales need not apply.
My website:

On 01/11, Jack wrote:

This is the only time of the year I get somewhat serious about waterfowl. Owning wimpy pointing dogs limits your hunting to mostly upland birds. Which is fine. But, I always enjoy getting out this time of the year; the waterfowl season extends into January, the winter wonderland is beautiful, and I enjoy the taste of mallard. But, would it have to be this cold? Especially when I am my own retriever and my old neoprene waders seem to have lost a battle with a barbed-wire fence at some point. The game is completely different from the one I played all autumn with my setters. Instead of the dogs finding the birds, the birds have to find me and my meager spread of two decoys. All fall, I watch my dogs, now I watch the sky. I even put my little 20 gauge into the safe and break out the 12 gauge pump. I will never claim to be a waterfowling expert. But, I sure enjoy the little taste of it I get each January.

On 08/06, kadın wrote:

very nice sharing, thank you manage your site

On 05/07, TN Pas Cher wrote:

neoprene waders seem to have lost a battle with a barbed-wire fence at some point. The game i


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