Assignment 7

Winemakers target younger, hipper audience with risqué ads

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A couple of 20-something winemakers trying to make it big in a traditional industry are finding success with a most untraditional marketing campaign.

Bo Silliman and Brandon Allen are trying to push their product at 20-something consumers. Beginning with the name of their wine -- Sexual Chocolate -- they have tested every traditional boundary. Now they're doing it with their latest series of commercials that are too racy for television, but finding an audience online.

"It's equating wine with being naughty," Dean Rader said. Rader studies pop culture as a professor at the University of San Francisco and he knows cutting edge when he sees it, at least in terms of image marketing and using the web to target a demographic.

"They're trying to say that wine is not just for everyone; it's for a new kind of consumer, a younger, hipper, edgier, rule breaker," he said.

Silliman and Allen don't know how many people have viewed their semi-X-rated ads, but it was enough to crash their website and more than enough to keep them busy.

"It's a traditional industry, but also a saturated industry, so anything that can make you different will set you apart and that may or may not be a good thing," Allen said.

The videos are risqué, self-deprecating and thumb this nose at prim and proper.

Allen says it's fun being a soft porn star, especially when they call you a genius for it.

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wine industry, napa, napa county, assignment 7, wayne freedman
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