‘Ratatouille’ Revisited: Should Wine Bottles Depict Cartoon Characters?

Simpsons WinesIn the world of advertising, imagery can be a powerful tool. Just take a look at the photo that accompanies this story from the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail, and you’ll see what I mean.

If you’re even just a casual fan of the long-running animated series, “The Simpsons,” you didn’t need to read the names on the bottles to understand that the one on the left represents Homer Simpson and the one on the right represents Marge Simpson. Just the colors and how they’re arranged on the bottles are all the “clues” that most people would need.

As the story notes, there is no actual Homer or Marge wine. Those are conceptual bottles developed by a pair of Russian designers, Constantin Bolimond and Dmitry Patsukevich. Also, Homer is an avowed beer drinker, which lends an ironic twist to the artwork.

But there’s another angle to this story, which the Daily Mail piece touches on briefly. It involves whether cartoon imagery should be used to promote alcohol of any kind. Matt Groening, creator of “The Simpsons,” has turned down offers to produce Homer’s fictional beer of choice, dubbed Duff, although he did make a concession with Universal Studios Florida for the sale of Duff-branded beer near that park’s Simpsons-themed ride.

This story brought back memories of a wine spinoff considered by the Disney company in the wake of the success of its animated film, “Ratatouille.” As this blog detailed, that plan called for some 500 cases of “Ratatouille”-branded wine to be made for sale at Costco stores, only to be derailed by concerns that the effort would promote drinking to children. Disney, being a family-focused company with a lot to lose, had no choice but to back away from the idea.

What do you think? Would a bottle of wine with a cartoon character on its label be a concern to you? I’m a parent… and now a grandparent… and I have always managed to maintain full control over the alcohol in my house. That said, none of my bottles have ever had cute cartoon characters on their labels.

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