August 7, 2012

Beware the Wine Meme!

meme: is “an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” (source Wikipedia)

A wine meme: is a funny/clever/kitschy image to increase Facebook Fan Page engagement that is stolen/repurposed/spread from other wine brands.  Often time seen as e-cards with pithy wine quotes.

Ok, first, we are not the biggest believer in Facebook as a key business channel.  Each social channel has its own psychology and purpose.  For the wine industry we believe that Facebook is the place to engage with your TRUE FANS (buying Fans often ends up with lots of dead weight).  These are the people that truly want to have a relationship with your winery.  This also means giving them meaningful content that relates to your winery/brand.  Unfortunately one of the biggest trends in Facebook marketing is using wine meme’s to raise up the engagement with your fans.  Now I am not saying that I have not done it myself or that there are not appropriately funny posts to share with your community (especially if you have a Fan base that loves that kind of content).  I am just warning that a few things are occurring as a result of this trend:

  1. You are not really getting true engagement or brand building with your fan base.  You are just telling a funny joke that people like to laugh at (the digital equivalent is a “Like”).  Just like a joke, it is great to share but has nothing to do with the brand (aka joke teller) but with the joke itself.
  2. Wineries that work at creating this content might get a big peeved at you for “lifting” that content.
  3. You are slowly shifting from your brand essence to “the funny kid in the class.”
  4. Consumers belonging to many wine Fan Pages see these repeat themes and view your brand as lazy or copycat.

So how do you avoid the pitfall of the “wine meme?”  Create original content.  One of our favorite wine meme’s was from  They made it creative commons and branded it on the bottom as their own so when it was shared, it was quoted from them.  Another one of the recent great wine meme’s came from One Hope Wine.  Same thing.  Created meaningful original content that was brand true for their actual fans to share it and carried their branding with the content.

It doesn’t have to be as intensive as an infographic.  Here is a GREAT example of a winery creating magical and original content: Murphy Goode and their #WineLikeAMan campaign has awesome pictures that are brand true, fan relevant, and easily contagious.
Again, using the infamous “wine meme” is not a bad thing, just warning that you should start being judicious about the ones that you leverage for fan engagement.


  • GREAT post!! I am beyond sick of the SomeeCards images that are still being shared on Facebook. 

    Memes are a great tool, if used sporadically and are original (Oreo comes to mind as a good example of this). But many are replacing memes with actual content. Check out #9 here:

    Thanks for this post Paul!

  • While I agree with your overall message here: Original content is the most effective way to engage “TRUE FANS.”  I’m not sure if I totally buy into your definition of what a true fan is, ie “people that truly want to have a relationship with your winery.” In my experience the biggest fans of a winery don’t seem to care much about Facebook/social-media; instead they seem to have a PERSONAL relationship with the winery, they join the wine club, they open their favorite winery’s wine at dinner and whisper about it as though they were telling their special guests a profound secret. These true fans and their love for their favorite wineries is anything but PUBLIC, many times it is a revered insight that they will only share with others that they believe will appreciate it. 

    Regarding “wine memes”, I think you are overlooking a more fundamental fact: Wine and Wine Culture in themselves ARE memes.  Regardless of the banality of many of these memes (ecards); who is in a better position to promote wine culture than wineries and wine brands? Aren’t meme’s meant to be shared and spread? If posting an ecard gets you more likes than something that takes you 2-3 hours to make, isn’t the ecard a good baseline to judge everything against?

  • This is a topic I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

    Posting memes = easy likes. That’s not rocket science. I just think there just needs to be a happy medium between memes and relevant content.
    If wineries don’t post content which attracts likes (in one form or another), their Edgerank will inevitably drop and very few people would even see the relevant updates.

    Your disdain for wine memes is the same as my disdain for the overuse of: “close-up on a bunch of grapes going through veraison” photos, “sunset over X Vineyard” photos, and “…we pair today with a bottle of our wine x! How about you!?!?” updates. Sure they’re talking about the brand, but when was the last time you “liked” a veraison photo?

    Using WineFolly is a terrible example to be used for this argument. Madeline is an extremely talented graphic artist and I’m fairly certain you’re not trying to suggest wineries hire that kind of talent, with the sole purpose of producing digital content for social media. On the other-hand, I’ve said for a while now that I think marketers will start certainly start to focus more of their efforts on the creation of memes which are relevant to brands.Personally I’m just happy that wineries are starting to get more involved in social media and FINALLY recognize the ROI. The ones who really have their sh*t together are the ones producing original content, and not PURELY posting content regurgitated from other sources.Cheers! Now you must excuse me…I’m off to post a picture on Facebook of a cat drinking a glass of wine…   🙂

  • If wine can touch you on a casual and delicious level visually than it’s easier to approach on a list.  Wine memes will simply inspire more sips!  Thanks for the mention.  

  • Jack

    those long infographic images annoy the hell out of me.

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