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The creators of white zinfandel are working on an irreverent -- and startlingly different -- ad campaign for the category to convince imbibers that Sutter Home Winery is way too focused on wine for its own good.

The three spots for Trinchero Family Estates, created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, are in production and slated to roll out Nov. 1. One opens with a sunrise, violin interlude, glistening grapes -- and winemakers sporting their underwear outside their garments. Other spots show vintners so preoccupied they don't notice a news broadcast that flashes highlights of the nude Olympics, and they miss unicorns, Big Foot and Elvis sneaking near their grape arbors.

The ads carry the new taglines "Way too focused on the wine" and "Sutter Home. Preoccupied since 1890."

With the ads, the country's No. 4 winemaker is looking to humor to distinguish itself in the highly competitive category of bottled wines priced at $5 to $7.

"We're taking wine off its pedestal. In the past, wine advertisements concentrated on very romantic vineyards and wealthy, sophisticated people drinking wine with filet mignon and poached salmon," a winery spokesman said. "We're making wine more friendly and more appealing to the American consumer, many of whom consider wine a ritualistic beverage that you have to have a Ph.D. in to kind of appreciate."

The $5 million to $6 million cable TV campaign supports Sutter Home's chardonnay, merlot and cabernet varieties. The ads, which will run through the end of the year, are designed to appeal to 35-to 49-year-olds who may know little about wine, the spokesman said.


Industry consultant Eileen Fredrikson, a partner with Gomberg-Fredrikson & Associates, San Francisco, applauds the tactic -- and the vineyard.

"You should recognize the fun of life. Put a little pleasure in and don't just consider wine a special-occasion beverage," she said. "Wineries like Sutter Home, which make a preponderance of very good wine for everyday drinking, are really the [industry's] hope for the future. We want to reach out to people -- to let them know all wine is not pompous."

The Wine Marketing Council has, in fact, adopted a similar strategy in ads it recently tested via Bozell, Chicago. That campaign aims to make wine more approachable with the theme, "Wine. What are you saving it for?"

This is not the first time the 52-year-old Sutter Home winery has gone to the masses. In 1972, Sutter Home Chairman Bob Trinchero created the country's first

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