Home Wine Business Editorial Sales & Marketing Lights, Camera, Action! Land Your Brand in TV and Film

Lights, Camera, Action! Land Your Brand in TV and Film

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Relatable characters drinking your wine is a great way to reach target customers.

By Melanie Young

In the Netflix series, Dead to Me, Jen, a grieving widow, and Judy, a free-spirited artist, bond over bottles of Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is featured so often, it deserves a show credit. This is just one example of prime product placement for wines in television and movies.

Wine features prominently in many television and film productions, and placing brands in these shows can deliver millions of  viewers — each one a potential customer. So how do you make sure your wine gets the role?  

 How to land your brand a cameo

Jon Holzman, Eclipse Worldwide

Paying placement fees directly to networks, studios, agents, producers and actors is a common practice and can provide a brand more creative control (as far as which productions it’s part of?), but it’s not always necessary. Jon Holzman, founder of Los Angeles-based Eclipse Worldwide, an organic product placement agency, advises choosing a well-established and connected agency, like his, that “works directly with set decorators and prop masters as opposed to networks or studios. [That means] our only costs to the brand are a small monthly agency retainer and supplied product,” says Holzman.

Cultivating meaningful relationships within the film and television industry can help keep your brand top-of-mind, something Jordan Vineyard & Winery has developed over time. “Our wines are shared with prop houses organically,” says Kendall Busby, Jordan’s director of marketing and communications. “This means that we don’t know exactly when — or even if — our wines will be featured on a show. It keeps us on our toes.” 

Jordan Chardonnay on Dead to Me

Those relationships have helped place Jordan wines in top shows including Dead to Me, This Is Us, Ginny & Georgia, Lincoln Lawyer, The White Lotus and Curb Your Enthusiasm.  

Target your brand image and audiences

Product placement has also been a successful marketing tactic for top-selling Josh Cellars, helping it reach wine consumers under 40, a demographic where the brand has experienced substantial growth. Josh Cellars has appeared in the Oscar-nominated film Don’t Look Up, the western drama series Yellowstone, Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen, Saturday Night Live and Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Josh Cellars on Saturday Night Live

“Having a presence in trending television shows and films has helped position Josh Cellars within pop culture, providing an avenue for consumers to connect with the brand in a natural way,” says Teresa Siclari, public relations manager for Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits (which owns the brand).

It can take months — sometimes even years — before a product placement debuts, depending on the type of production, as scenes must be shot and edited before airing. “For television, the sweet spot for airing is six to nine months from placement, with nine to 12 months not unusual,” says Eclipse’s Holzman. “Movies are generally in the 12 to 18 month window from placement to airing.” 

He continues, “Ideally, your agency should be placing your products on multiple productions. For wine, this should average two productions per month.”

Placements build brand buzz

Beyond getting your wine in front of millions of viewers, sharing screen shots of aired placements on social media can help build a brand’s online presence and potentially grow distribution. Jordan selects placements to share on social media and engages followers to look for the brand when watching programs.

Several Jordan fans and restaurant partners have reached out to us in excitement after recognizing the brand on screen,” says Busby. “The exposure reminds our existing customers that our wine is a part of everyday life and special occasions alike. And it piques curiosity for new customers to try our wine.”

Cupcake Cellar on The Closer

Work with a product placement agency that understands marketing and how you can leverage your brand. “The Wine Group created sell sheets depicting the fabulous exposure Eclipse Worldwide achieved for its Cupcake brand to market to distributors. We worked with many of The Wine Group’s offerings and, over a three-year period, reached more than 2.3 billion viewers, with an equivalent media value of more than $82 million. These figures do not include reruns, streaming , video on demand or any other method of rebroadcasting,” says Holzman.

Watching Jen and Judy imbibing together on Dead to Me or Beth Pearson on This Is Us say “Fill ‘er up” to another glass of Jordan Cabernet, one may wonder if the actors are enjoying the wine. The answer is no. Actors cannot consume any alcohol on-set for legal reasons. 

But show fans can enjoy that bottle while watching from home — and that matters.

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Melanie Young [Bobby Ryan Portraits]
Melanie Young [Bobby Ryan Portraits]

Melanie Young

Melanie Young is a certified specialist of wine and co-host/writer for The Connected Table LIVE, a global podcast featuring conversations with thought leaders in wine, food, spirits & hospitality. Her articles have appeared in Wine Industry News, Wine Enthusiast and Seven Fifty Daily. She travels frequently to report on wine regions, people and events. IG@theconnectedtable

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