Product or Image — Post Script

After reading my last post on quality control, a good friend and marketer from outside the booze business wrote me about his recent observation of consumers making a wine purchase decision.

(Of course, I’m taking some liberty and embellishing the story.)

A husband and wife are walking back and forth in the wine section just before Thanksgiving. They are obviously having a hard time deciding what to buy.

At a different time and place somewhere in this world, the owners of a vineyard have worried about the harvest, pressing, fermentation, testing, blending, fining, filtration, bottling and dozens of other things the vintner and owners are concerned about. They taste, refine and taste again. On and on it goes until they are satisfied.

At the same time, the marketing and sales people are concerning themselves with the name, packaging and brand identity. They fuss over the label; they agonize about the back label copy; they pray for good reviews.

We now return to the retail shop where this new wine is on the shelf. Our consumer couple is staring blankly at the shelves. We eavesdrop on their conversation:

He: What difference does it make? Pick one.

She: I’m confused. Should we pick it by price? Or, based on these little cards with ratings?

He: I don’t know. Price doesn’t always mean anything. Do you know what the Johnson’s like?

She: No idea. Let’s ask the sales guy.

He: Are you kidding? Does he look like he knows anything about wine? I might ask him about beer but… It’s like asking for directions. Forget it. Let’s decide ourselves.

She: How about this one? It’s a cute name.

He:  Dancing Elves? Looks more like Fornicating Elves to me.

She: If it were up to you, you’d probably pick Farting Bears.

He: Okay. Enough. Just pick one.

She: I got it. Look at this bottle. It’s all in earth tones. Marge’s dining room décor is orange, yellow and brown — this one will match her table setting!

He: Great. Let’s go. The game starts soon.

Somewhere in the world there is the sound of gunfire. Another vintner has blown his brains out.

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