“A picture is worth a thousand words.”
“Every picture tells a story, don’t it?”
These phrases have a deep-rooted legacy in American culture, both written and sung. As products of their time, they conveyed an aesthetic that was as much a symbol of their time as they were iconic mileposts marking a change in the public’s interaction with society and each other.
To my 20th century sensibilities, these phrases connoted the evolution, and juxtaposition, of two-dimensional perspectives.
In the mid-20th century, marketing campaigns were beginning to understand the power of images over text as a means to market products. It became a standard of advertising, as expressed in numerous product, political and social advertisements, that well-crafted photos and video clips were more impactful than text and were worth a thousand, or more, words.
But the medium for these messages is rapidly changing.
Who can forget Rod Stewart’s driving, raspy voice singing “Every Picture Tells a Story” in 1971. (My how time flies. It seems the early ‘70s were only a few decades ago, not nearly a half-century.)
Today, his song title, and theme, conveys a concept unheard of until the last few years.
The change I refer to in these two examples is the advancing technology of augmented and virtual reality. More specifically, how manufacturers, including wine companies, are integrating new technologies into their core advertising and marketing.
The new technologies infiltrating our real and virtual lives are virtual reality and augmented reality.
The distinction is rather clear. Virtual reality immerses the wearer of a specially designed headset/goggles in alternative realities. Augmented reality adds to, but doesn’t replace, our current real experiences.
It is augmented reality that is popping up in a new advertising campaign recently launched. I read an example of these two technologies a while ago. Virtual reality is swimming with the sharks; augmented reality is downloading an app and watching a shark seemingly leap out of your screen. Remember the Pokémon Go app of a few years ago? Augmented reality.
Here in 2018 we have an app that presents a video that tells a story and it’s worth a thousand words.
An Australian company markets a brand named 19 Crimes. It is a growing collection of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, a Chardonnay and a few red blends, all catering to the American palate of fruit-forward, nicely rounded wines. Many are available at retail shops in our area for about $10.
What makes the brand distinctive is its underlying theme. Beginning in 1783, the British government banished to Australia criminals convicted of one of 19 specific crimes, otherwise punishable by hanging. These were the early colonists who have been immortalized in history. Several of the crimes are a bit outlandish, including impersonating an Egyptian (number 5), stealing fish from a pond or river (10), stealing roots, trees or plants (11) and clandestine marriage (15).
Each bottle of the 19 Crimes collection displays a photo of one of these criminals. Download the free app, point your smartphone at the bottle and the photo of the criminal comes to life, regaling you with the convict’s trials and tribulations.
I find this to be a very effective marketing tool. And the consuming public agrees. The wines are flying off the shelves, at a pace of one million cases a year. Another lure, embraced by younger consumers, are the corks, randomly numbered for each crime, which have become collectibles.
Contrary to the declining sales of Australian wines in the United States, 19 Crimes is bucking the trend, thanks to a brilliant marketing campaign and bolstered by augmented reality. And every video tells the story, don’t it?
Nick Antonaccio is a 40-year Pleasantville resident. For over 20 years he has conducted wine tastings and lectures. Nick is a member of the Wine Media Guild of wine writers. He also offers personalized wine tastings and wine travel services. Nick’s credo: continuous experimenting results in instinctive behavior. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @sharingwine.