It’s awake! Wine advertising grows up – a bit

Wine advertising doesn’t often work. Who wants to see other people drinking glasses of wine, however happy, attractive or rich they might appear to be?

(for an example, see this TV ad by Echo Falls from a few years ago – are you sold?)

When it comes to volume brands, sold via big distribution like supermarkets, what we want are REASONS TO DRINK THAT WINE. There has to be a memorable reason to make people pick just that label from a shelf. There’s no-one there to help you make that decision. It needs to stick.

Listing arbitrary fruit and food matching terms doesn’t work. Generic benefits like “relaxing” (as a euphemism for getting you lightly drunk if consumed in moderation) aren’t exactly unique to any one brand. We need more clever marketing like “Think Red. Think Côtes du Rhône”

That’s why it was refreshing to see Casillero del Diablo really emphasise their brand story, the legend of the cellar protected by the Devil himself, in their latest TV ad.

The production is worthy of a Hollywood film, and they’ve obviously travelled the world in search of the English actor with the deepest possible tones for the voice-over. The result is as entertainingly cheesy as the Bond franchise, and recognisably South American in its political correctness as I doubt too many librarians and museum tour guides wear dresses that tight in London these days. However, the effect is cinematic. It appeals to emotions and story-telling rather than lecturing about wine credentials, and this has to be celebrated. They must have spent a considerable fortune, possibly as much as the rest of the wine industry’s TV investments put together, to create this and get it shown on TV. What do you think?

The advert coincides with the launch of a new range of wines from Casillero del Diablo called the Devil’s Collection. The wines are priced at around £9, which is above the normal range, and, interestingly, features two blends – a red and a white. I’ve often bemoaned the fact that blends are treated as inferior wines to single variety wines, so this is another point of difference worth celebrating.

The packaging is reasonably traditional for the the range, with premium cues that will make it a great dinner party offering – something a bit special and out of the ordinary, but still comfortingly familiar as it clearly comes from the trusted brand (Number 12 in the UK, and rising, I believe).

Devil's Collection Red

Devil’s Collection Red

Premium white blend from Casillero del Diablo

Devil’s Collection White

The white wine is a skilful combination of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Gewurtztraminer which marries these very different grapes well and results in a wine that is fresh yet weighty enough for lots of occasions – a bonus for a wine in this market.

The red wine had elegantly understated red berry fruit Syrah, with some fleshing out of the fruit from both Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere. Altogether quite drinkable, but maybe not quite as complex as I might have hoped for at this price – let’s see what a little bottle age might do for it.

What is interesting is that they are including a well-funded marketing and promotions campaign with this launch, including sampling at major rail stations, posters around the City and materials for bars and merchants. Plus this is on top of their social media presence on twitter and facebook as well. Of course, many brands cannot afford this activity, but hopefully the fact that this brand is investing and seeing a return in terms of increased sales, might encourage others to more integrated campaigns too.

Disclosure: Casillero del Diablo’s parent company, Concha y Toro, will be sponsoring a tasting at the upcoming DWCC which I co-organise, but this post is unrelated to that activity

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  • RandyHall
    September 16, 2013

    A little sleuthing turned this up:
    Very cinematic indeed, and even has a behind-the-scenes page about it.

  • thirstforwine
    September 16, 2013

    RandyHall thanks Randy – very interesting indeed. Really big production in wine terms

  • Anne and Alf
    November 13, 2015

    Need to know the voice of the Casillero ad. Sounds a bit like David Morrissey but not sure. Any ideas?

    • Lily May
      October 26, 2017

      I was thinking Jeremy Irons but no one in my family seems sure, I’m a big Jezza fam but I can’t find any receipts on the internet to prove.