Video Killed the Stupid Wine Marketer

The audience for the years first harvest video are not excited.

WITH harvest 2011 underway, the dreaded V-word is being bandied about, this specific V having nothing to do with Viognier, Very Hot or VAT hike in Britain. Video it is, and now that one of the winelands most animated seasons is underway, “?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+ëve all ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+ëvant a video for our ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+ëvebsite”.

Lucky are the video-makers, usually one-man-teams, who have taken advantage of this need for web-videos in the winelands over the past few years, a need unfortunately driven more by marketing vanity than effectiveness. For R12,000 some dude will cruise in with a video camera, point it at the subject’s face and record a few clips containing some ranting about low vineyard yields, optimum ripeness and hand-harvested grapes. If you are lucky the producer will throw in a few cutaways of a few smiling sweaty farmworkers cutting grapes and an introspective wine-maker moodily prodding the,bunches as they arrive at the cellar.

There is no storyboard, no concept, no goal, no asking of “what do we actually want to achieve with this video, apart from forwarding it to my mates?”

Now, having wasted bandwidth on one or two of these videos, the prospective viewer has as much chance of returning to similar web-videos as he or she has of being given privy to the page-proofs of Wines of South Africa’s new braai book.

Having reviewed movies and television for various publications for more than twenty years, I can quite rightly say that the video material being produced for South African wineries is unimaginative, poorly conceptualised and about as interesting and engaging as Michael Buble concert. The SA Mohair Board’s video on artificial insemination among goats is more interesting than most.

The main reason for this poor product, of course, is that most wineries produce videos purely because they feel they “also have to have one”. Combine this marketing motive with the dodgy wine knowledge of most video producers, and the recipe is destined to fail.

Congratulations thus to Klein Constantia and their somewhat ground-breaking video produced for them by media-mogul, raconteur, wine-maker and foodie David Cope. The video speaks for itself, and is so hugely entertaining that it gets revisited for a second look, something unheard of for most boring winery movies.

The video has everything good marketing tape should have: Clear branding without being in-your-face; a bit of self-deprecation; humour; vivid visual narrative and the feeling that at Klein Constantia our ethos and our wines are the result of living, breathing people instead of some wine marketing suit droning on about consumer-orientated production in a difficult market.

What’s there not to like?

Of course, I am not saying all wineries should suddenly host quad-bike racing and wrestling matches in Michelin Man puffy suits. Just put some soul and thinking into is, and let the viewer know you have a pulse.

So before taking the plunge while expressing the V-word, take a look at Klein Constantia’s video and think what you plan to do with your video and why you are making it. Because remember, loss of viewer interest is just one click away.

-, Emile Joubert

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2 thoughts on “Video Killed the Stupid Wine Marketer

  1. Good rant Emile

    But I think there is plenty of interest in the simple video of some moment in teh winery year, say harvest, when the camera shows just what is happening and by not having post production work the vid can be up on the web the same day.

    Last year Fairview did some that allowed us to follow the winemaker choosing when to harvest, a real ‘blog’ video, not gloosy or professional but honest and informative and inclusive.

    For another winery video you might like, in the same area as the Klein Constantia one, see

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