Not since the glory days of Orson Welles shilling for Paul Masson has a wine company dared to advertise nationally during the Super Bowl. That changes this winter, for Super Bowl 51, during which the color-coded Aussie import Yellow Tail will attempt to shake macrobeer’s icy grip on the sports market.
Last time around didn’t go so well for Paul Masson. Football fans watching Super Bowl XV in 1980 were treated to the 65-year-old Welles seated in a drawing room, talking about… Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. “Some things can’t be rushed: Good music, and good wine,” Welles intoned, before wrapping things up with his famous “no wine before its time” tagline. Unsurprisingly, the sports crowd didn’t take to this ill-suited pitch.
Yellow Tail seems like a better candidate to compete with Bud Light ads, being in a way the Bud Light of the wine world. It’s simple, fruit-forward, deliberately designed to be as generically inoffensive as possible. The color-coding of the bottles provides a helpful reminder of what flavor you liked last time, in case you forgot.
And Yellow Tail looks to take a smarter approach than Paul Masson did. No old guys discussing classical music this time. In an interview with TheStreet, a Yellow Tail rep promised a “fun” and “funny” ad, showing the world that wine need not be stuffy or reserved for special occasions, that it goes with the hot wings and guacamole at the Super Bowl party as well as any beer. At around $5 million for a 30-second spot, it’ll be interesting to see if Yellow Tail gets what it’s paying for.