I mean, I’m not entirely sure how this idea even got to the final stages? This had to go through a whole lot of eyeballs, from conception to finalization. And not one single person was like, hey guys, let’s talk this through! For some inane reason, wine merchant Lot18 thought it would be a good idea to release a line of wines inspired by The Handmaid’s Tale. Handmaid’s Tale wines! Beverages based on one of the most horrific and hard-to-watch television shows to ever air. Handmaid’s. Tale. Wines. I cannot even make my brain accept this as something that was real. Which is fine, because the backlash was so swift that the merchant pulled the wines less than 24 hours after they were announced.
The Handmaid’s Tale wines were named after three of the main characters in the show: Ofglen, Offred, and Serena Joy.
— Adweek (@Adweek) July 12, 2018
A bottle of red named Offred, how the marketing company must have squealed! Good fucking god. The entire page on the website is gone, but the descriptions were just as bad as you’d expect. Just read this selling point for Offred Pinot Noir.
“So you may as well give in”. WHAT THE FUCK LOT18. In case you haven’t caught up on season 2, shit is not looking good for June and the other handmaids. They’re risking life and limb to fight against “just giving in”. That’s sort of the whole point of this season! Her feminine wiles. Swear to god, everyone involved in this disaster needs to lose their job.
Reaction on social media was … not great. It was SO not great, in fact, that Lot18 pulled the wines in less than 24 hours. Idiots.
Blessed be the fruit of entirely misguided capitalistic endeavors. https://t.co/uvanqfqKJd
— Maris Kreizman (@mariskreizman) July 10, 2018
“Can you turn rape into marketing copy?” “Sure, you bet.” “Great, it’s for Handmaid’s Tale wine.” “Haha, love it.” pic.twitter.com/9089Cveu0G
— Margaret Lyons (@margeincharge) July 10, 2018
Hey @hulu I had some better ideas for merchandising! Handmaid’s Tale the pepper spray. Handmaid’s Tale the IUD. Handmaid’s Tale the enormous donation to the National Network of Abortion Funds. https://t.co/gIRH62wdyf
— Jess Zimmerman (@j_zimms) July 10, 2018
Poorly thought-out product tie-ins are nothing new. Marketing companies toe a very fine line between capitalizing on the popularity of something, and staying true to the spirit of that thing. In this case, the team behind the Handmaid’s Tale wines took their toes, swiped them over the line, then rubbed the chalk out on the red robes of the sex slaves they were trying to turn into booze. Seriously, such an epic fail.
Blessed be the fruit, indeed.