When I was young I remember going to the grocery store with my mom and waiting in anticipation for the cereal aisle. What was I going to get today? What kind of toys were in the boxes? Do you remember that, too?
Three things would always catch my attention:
- The cartoon character. I don’t know why I liked Sugar Puffs, I mean, the frog was not that interesting. But, there was a certain hyper-active energy about him that seemed to resonate with my persona;
- The toy, of course. Cheap as they were, I still wanted it. “Collect all 19 stickers!” Okay, but you only have three here! When are the rest coming in? Good thing we didn’t know about Chinese toy lead poisoning back then or mom would have never bought us this crap;
- Anything that blared out “Get your chocolate sugar buzz here!” Well, the boxes never said that explicitly, but c’mon, Count Chocula’s eyes are buggin’ out really far and he just seems so excited about this cereal. No : >( mom never, ever, bought me the Count.
My point is this: the cereal makers know exactly how to push a young kid’s buttons, don’t they? Character marketing, color, movie tie-ins, etc. all fight for shelf space to grab our kids’ attention (that is why we leave them at the end of this aisle when we shop).
So, why can’t wineries do the same thing? My wife likes white wine, and many times I am tasked with making the purchase from among hundreds of selections, each competing for eyeball time. However, most bottlers insist on using the same style of outdated label that is really nothing more than a list: name, location, vintage, etc. Why don’t they get it? You know what gets my attention? An ugly man with “Fat Bastard” plastered on the bottle. Or, a label with a frog on it that looks like one of those taxidermy nightmares with a sax in its mouth. Whether right or wrong, these labels tell me something about the winery, and hopefully, something about the wine. Nevertheless, it gets me to buy.
The other thing that bugs me is that very, very few of the wineries describe the taste of the wine. I’m lucky to see a back label that says “Good with Fish.” Yeah, well water is good with fish too, they live in it. When I make fondue I need a not-too-fruity and moderately dry wine to pair well with the spicyness of the swiss and the nuttiness of the gruyere. But since no one feels inclined to tell me what their wine tastes like, I have to guess.
With the glut of wines on the market, why aren’t wineries doing more to capture my attention? They need to get a clue from cereal makers in order to get people to buy. Why do you think people buy Mescal, a horrendous tasting Mexican alcohol? Because there’s a worm in it that according to legend will turn all women into the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen. So, how about marketing a wine with a prize on the bottom? I’d buy it.