#badcopyblog: Ontario Wines #Untweetable

Don’t do social media just because your kid is on it.  And especially don’t do social media combined with reverse psychology if you don’t understand your target market.


Wine Country Ontario’s new #Untweetable campaign is the unfortunate intersection where poor social media tactics meet with uninspired creative execution.  Reading through the campaign backgrounder (PDF link) is as confusing as it is angering when considering how much money is being spent:

The 2013 Wine Country Ontario advertising campaign ‘untweetable’ is a major annual program that delivers
against a key strategic objective of “Tourism Leadership”. This year’s campaign objective is to broaden
awareness of Wine Country Ontario and invite wine enthusiasts – and the younger demographic – to fall in
love with the local wine experience. The campaign is anchored in emotion, connecting with the discovery of
how Wine Country Ontario is rich with experiences, and moments, that simply can’t be put into words. In
fact, they are ‘untweetable’.

There are similarities between this campaign and Visa’s bungled Smallenfreuden, both are attempting to define their image with single words that, to most people, have no meaning or definition outside of the actual campaign.  In Ontario Wines’ case this strategy reduces the actual value of the brand by alienating non-Twitter users.  The level of disconnection from social media trends is also quite disturbing, the brief goes on to explain:

The ‘untweetable’ campaign is both timely and powerful and is perfect for 2013, leveraging the emergence
of Twitter as a true phenomenon in modern communication.

2013 is not the year to be leveraging with only Twitter considering their market-share has been on a steady decline since mid-2012 according to Dreamgrow.  Why focus on only one platform when the trends say otherwise?  In effect, they’re hoping that Twitter users care enough to spread the message while attracting a growing audience.  The only audience they seem to be attracting with this campaign are the hardcore tweeters and people interested in their contest.  If you search #Untweetable you’ll notice four distinct categories of tweet:

1) Those by Ontario Wines and some of the wineries
2) Tweets by single hardcore users that are spamming their followers and probably employees of Ontario Wines or wineries
3) Single tweets from people that want to enter the contest
4) People talking about sexy dreams and fantasies, completely unrelated, but hey, who checks what’s going on with hashtags they want to use on major ad spends anyway?

Making the assumption that the spend is worth it because social media and especially Twitter is connective is the biggest mistake this campaign has made. Social media messages, especially Twitter, are extremely short-term and if you keep trying to push the same message to the same people they’re going to quickly ignore it.  How do any of the above situations create long-term and valuable interest?  In an attempt to attract brand champions for their cause they’ve actually stumbled into a circular jerk of epic proportions between Twitter addicts that happen to frequent wineries, Ontario Wines, and a couple select wineries that are on board with this embarrassment of a campaign.

What They Should Have Done

While the execution of this campaign is absolutely baffling, the visual work is stunning.  Rich photographs of different wineries are present in the ads but should be featured instead of being covered by a massive hashtag. Also, it would have been a great idea to direct potential targets to a central website or landing page.  If you go to the Wine Country Ontario website there is no indication they are even running a campaign.unless you head to their media centre, why the disconnect between platforms?

Untweetable Subway Ad

If this campaign had any sense they would feature individual wineries prominently across all media and invoke the flavours, smells and tastes to be enjoyed instead of giving the wineries a paltry mention in the bottom left corner of each ad.  It’s an ad trying to sell something, not an art gallery so why the insistence on making the actual destination difficult to read?  On top of that, there are no real calls to action and the word untweetable covers the best portions of the photo.  Why shoot such gorgeous photos only to cover them?

WINE COUNCIL OF ONTARIO - Tweet the 'untweetable'

Here’s what could have been done:

1) Keep the photos but instead of covering them with a hashtag, give them prominence, direct people to a landing page on either Facebook or the Ontario Wines website and push incentives through that central site.  Make it interactive with a trip planner and get people involved long-term!

2) Keep the hashtag but use it in an integrated campaign.  The advertisements comprising this campaign are almost completely print-based, why push only a hashtag when there’s so much power in print?  Create customers instead of hoping for them.  By using a hashtag as an integrated member you could focus on generating online content and push it before/after work when the clients are comfortable and relaxed at home instead of hoping to capture them at the beginning or end of a workday when they’re tired.

3) Push a campaign through the wineries.  Have literature, rack-cards, or incentives available at ground-level to get people excited during the experience.  It’s been said that the best marketing is word-of-mouth, capitalize on that and the hashtag idea becomes viable.

What a shame that Ontario Wines has been blindsided by an ad campaign so terrible that they could have saved tens of thousands of dollars by doing nothing.  The #Untweetable campaign is full of pomp and bravado on paper but, unfortunately, when it comes to practice it ends up circling the drain of under performance.  Instead of banking on one trend that happened to be a couple years too late, Ontario Wines should have focused on generating great creative and interactive content at a central website with rich media to explore – not a frivolous hashtag.


3 thoughts on “#badcopyblog: Ontario Wines #Untweetable

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