Well, this is fun. The Austrian government has come down on wine producers for an ad promoting the leading wine of the country, Grüner Veltliner. I’m not so sure about government intervention and I don’t pretend to have formal education in marketing, but you gotta wonder how people who do have the education came up with a misguided campaign like this. Were they mainlining G.V. when they came up with this stuff?
I guess being delicious just isn’t enough these days. Its supposed attributes include being an “anti-depressant ideal against the usual Monday-morning blues.” Does this mean we’re supposed to have a belt of Grüner Veltliner with our Cheerios, or maybe Muesli, before we hit the Monday morning commute? Maybe it’s better to stick with giving away T-shirts.
And when the industry came under fire for being such knuckleheads they promptly shot themselves in the foot again by coming out with a position paper “Admitting the necessity of responsible approach to the subject: and “went to great lengths pointing out the positive effects of moderate wine consumption, the important role of wine in Austrian cuisine and culture” – so far, so good – “and its significance as an icon of a hedonistic lifestyle.” Boom!! Ouch! Perhaps something was lost in translation here, or these marketing geniuses should be looking for a job.
I don’t know about you, but when I think of hedonism I think of wild-eyed Romans rolling around on the floor and the fall of the empire, like this definition from Dictionary.com:
1. the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the highest good.
2. devotion to pleasure as a way of life: The later Roman emperors were notorious for their hedonism.
Synonyms: sensualism, libertinism, debauchery, dissipation, carousal.
Antonyms: puritanism, asceticism, abstemiousness, self-denial.
Maybe the Austrian version is tamed down a bit like this one from WordNet:
1. the pursuit of pleasure as a matter of ethical principle
2. an ethical system that evaluates the pursuit of pleasure as the highest good
In either case this is a most unorthodox way to lend credibility to their stated goals of promoting responsible marketing and moderate consumption.
I’ll admit to using “hedonistic” as a wine descriptor on very rare occasion – you know – for one of those wines that is so good that you need to go to confession after indulging in just a taste? Ah…
Anyway, I guess these guys are just doing what we humans seem to do best: putting our foot in it only to find out it’s quicksand. I think we should all go out and buy a bottle of Austrian Grüner Veltliner. A nice, cool glass of G.V. sounds awfully good right now and we can hope they do the same for us when it’s our turn to look like our industry is chaired by graduates of clown college. Prosit!