So there I was, waiting to meet a friend for sushi, when she called to let me know she was running a little behind. What to do, what to do? Why hello, Liquor Store!
This particular BC Liquor Store is located in Vancouver’s classiest shopping establishment, Kingsgate Mall. Home to the Worst Washroom in Canada,1 Kingsgate also features stores that sell knockoff swords, hooker boots and hospital scrubs, as well as a Shoppers Drug Mart, which is usually the sole reason I go in there.2 Also, sometimes Payless stocks Catherine-sized shoes. Mostly not.
On a side note, I was just buying a replacement bottle of vodka–my previous one having gone to a good cause: lowering the collective IQ of Vancouver’s Twitter community by about 2%. So this was more of an errand than anything likely to get my 2-day chip taken away.3
Being a smart shopper, I generally avoid buying alcohol in the evening because, well, who wants to be waiting in line for 15 minutes? Exactly: bored people.
While standing there, being told by a variety of drunk, jonesing, toothless and urine-smelling people that my hair, hat, paintbrush case and eyes were pretty, I noticed a display in the “impulse purchase” rack promoting Woodbridge cabernet.
The first thing that struck me about this display was not that it was positioned where the gum and Archie comics are supposed to be, but rather that it appeared that some of the other people in line with me had been given a copy of CorelDraw and hired to make wine ads.
I’m actually not really sure where to start. At some point, I’m sure there was a designer, art director, photographer, the whole deal. Sadly, it appears something happened on the way to the printers’. (“I said ‘creative’! Throw some more fonts in there!”)
Possibly the stock photo of the man and woman enjoying ham and pineapple with root beer floats is not the most representative image of “any evening” with “6 friends”, but hey, it looks like a really good ham, yeah?
I do like the fact that the inexplicably wordy “Enter to Win” bubble communicates its relation to the prizes mentioned in the ad’s footer by totally overlapping some of the text with its drop shadow. Pretty effective, right?
In fairness to Woodbridge, Robert Mondavi, and their staff of talented media professionals, the “ENTER TO WIN the following prizes!” bubble does implicate the importer, Vincor Canada. I do also get that $11.50 wine that comes with a chance to win prizes is unlikely to have its reputation besmirched too unduly by some bad drop shadows. However, I don’t think I can forgive the “yes, we’re using Arial” copy:
2 hours enjoying the conversation
1 bottle of Woodridge BY ROBERT MONDAVI
You know, it’s not terrible. That sounds like a pretty good evening, actually. Fun times, am I right? Er, wait, what? One bottle? How big is it? Are we sure this wine actually comes in a bottle?
I see: 750mL. Not being a huge wine drinker, I was a little confused, as this sounds to me like a fairly small amount. In fact, I can recall sharing a single bottle of wine with only one other person. Maybe I am an alcoholic. Is that one of the definitions?
So what gives? The LCBO, Ontario’s counterpart to BC Liquor Stores, describes a “standard” glass of wine as being 5 US fluid ounces (147.9mL) and a 750mL bottle as containing 5 glasses of wine. In fact, the LCBO goes further, providing a handy “Party Calculator” that estimates a more reasonable volume of wine for “6 friends” to chug back whilst “enjoying the conversation for 2 hours” is four bottles.
Sweet. I knew I wasn’t some kind of insane lush. Ad writers: you’re clearly there anyway. Make sure you run your marketing copy by the line at your local liquor or wine store. It’s important.