198: The Number of the Boozst!

The algorithm always gets you. Watch a few “buy six bottles of alcohol for RMB198!” videos on WeChat and suddenly more are popping up left, right and center.

I’ve seen a dozen-plus of these scripted pieces with the “reveal” being you get not just one bottle of XO Brandy for RMB198, not two just bottles of Brandy for RMB198, not just those Brandies *and* a bottle of whisky for RMB198, but all three *plus* three bottles of wine for… RMB198! Or about US$29 / EUR27.

Not surprisingly, people in the wine trade are discussing just what one is getting for that money. I have not tasted these tipples and am posting here simply to give insights into what’s on offer in China. I’ll be posting about other niches one can find, too. (I’m also seeing lots of ads for Australian wine these days.)

A few notes on these videos:

  • The main characters include both Chinese and non-Chinese, both men and women, and appear to be between 25 to 40.
  • They wear a wide range of jackets and vests, from dress suit to smart casual to leather to ready for the club and / or a magician’s gig! (Check out the threads on the first guy in the collage above.)
  • One theme is a customer catches the main character in the act of deeply contemplating a glass of spirits. The character becomes increasingly weary / exasperated / annoyed as the customers asks about the booze prices and they have to explain–yet again, no doubt!–that six bottles really only cost RMB198. So, tiring.
  • Another theme is “high energy”, a “you are crazy if you don’t buy this!” / “we are practically giving this away for free!” kind of vibe. In this case, the main character tends to be quite animated.
  • What brands are included? In one ad, the character states the six-bottle batch includes two bottles of French XO Brandy (Swan Moon Valley ‘Svier’), one bottle of English whiskey (Kevicks ‘Gryffin’, with a label that says ‘Since’ but has no date), two bottles of Benidone Manor red wine (the label lists a winery in Yantai) and one bottle of rose (Jagadal ‘Losanna’ sweet red wine). Some of the ads feature a different whiskey or wine brand.
  • Some videos also have a second character, but these tend to be offstage or only seen in part — such as a hand extending into the frame to point at a bottle — and asking the questions that make the main character annoyed / weary / exasperated. (“Don’t you people understand, you get ALL of these bottles of RMB198! Seriously, what else do you want!?”)
  • The videos I’ve seen end with the main character pulling out the gift box for the six wines, labeled “Elaborate Selection”, and giving a last-second high-energy pitch, such as pointing a finger at the camera and shouting, “hao he!” (“tastes delicious!”).

Since I’ve seen so many of these ads, I took some creative liberty to splice together a bunch of clips and put them to music–I kind of feel this captures the tone and vibe of many of the videos!

I checked on WeChat for more info about these brands–Swan Moon Valley, Kevicks, Benidone et al–since I had never heard of them. I found some people who had posted about these bottles — less than a dozen and with few “likes” or comments.

I also had other package deals pop up, such as the one below with a gift box labelled ‘Red Wine Global Direct Mining.’ They sell six bottles of red wine for RMB168 or, for those who want a six-pack with both Whisky and Brandy, RMB399.

And for that matter, the crew that do the RMB198 deal are not one-trick ponies. I’ve noticed some videos with a 12-bottle deal, featuring China’s national spirt baijiu, for RMB398. As one video puts it, “BooooM.”

I’m going to post more about what other wines are competing for consumers’ eyeballs, and wallets, from OEMS to mom ‘n’ pop producers to the ads for both Penfolds and Benfolds that keep showing up on my timeline.

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