Sterling celebrates personal identities and culture creators

Who: Sterling Vineyards (a Mark Anthony brand) with Mint for strategy, creative and media, and Fela for production (directed by Jasmin Mozaffari).

What: “Pairs Well With You,” a new brand campaign hoping to break through with consumers 25+ who haven’t considered the brand before.

When & Where: The campaign is live across Canada now, running on digital media only: Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. There are three 60-second films, which have also been cut down for various digital and social versions.

Why: Mark Anthony asked Mint to come up with campaigns for its wine brands that stand out and defy some of the conventions of wine marketing. “A lot of the fun marketing stuff has lived in spirits and RTD, so they wanted freshness in their wine portfolio,” said Kim Tarlo, Mint partner and executive creative director. Mint adopted that approach for Beringer earlier this year.

When you want to connect with younger consumers, you need to show how you are either inspired by culture or want to have an impact on it, said Tarlo. In this case, Mint and Sterling are leaning into how young Millennials’ have embraced their personal identities. “[It’s about] the fluidity of identity and what it means, how you show up with it, and how many layers there are,” said Tarlo. “Sterling is pushing the cultural movement to embrace people as is, versus living up to societal norms and expectations, and embracing your identity, who you are and your story.”

How: Mint wanted to connect that insight about personal identity to Sterling’s product story of pairing well with many different things. “‘Pairs well with you’ is really talking about what ‘you’ means, and peeling back the layers of that,” said Tarlo. “However you show up to the world, this wine can pair well with you.”

To deliver that story, Mint found three young Canadian “culture creators”: Bully Magazine editor-in-chief Bobby Bowen, Toronto DJ Killa Kels, and artist and producer Sean Leon. All three appeal to the target, and are able to share interesting stories about their personal journey to who they are, their self expression, and their craft.

The films feel more like content for a fashion or technology brand rather than wine. Shot in black and white, each spot focuses entirely on one of the individuals as they share a little about their back story and how they got to where they are today. There’s no brand presence or mention until the last five seconds, when the stars deliver the closing lines: “We’ve all got a story,” they say. “Whatever yours is, Sterling pairs well you.”

Spending 55 seconds to get to the branding makes sense when trying to connect with an audience often accused of having a short attention span, said Tarlo. “I think they don’t have attention spans for traditional advertising, but they do have attention spans for great storytelling and engaging artwork and creativity, and I think that’s what we tapped into here.”

And we quote: “We wanted to show social innovators and creatives that Sterling is a wine that fits with their adventurous and social lifestyle… These films highlight our creators’ unique stories and that Sterling has the perfect pairing for whoever you may be.” — Hilary Sheppard, national senior portfolio manager, Sterling Vineyards Canada

David Brown