I LOVE the new globe-trotting TV ad for wine merchant Laithwaites in which an intrepid traveller treks through the world’s remote reaches, climbing mountains and wading through rivers, to find top tipple.
Our Indiana Jones-style hero is seen on his widescreen adventures in locations which appear to range from Australia to Lebanon, from New Zealand to Portugal, and from Chile to South Africa.
It looks like it cost a fortune, filmed over several weeks by a jet-setting camera crew faced with the logistical challenges of scaling cloudy peaks, fording rivers, hacking through jungles and crossing sun-bleached desert sands.
But there’s a sneaky secret waiting to be uncorked.
Because the whole ad was shot in just one week and, remarkably, in just one place. And, no, it wasn’t carefully crafted in a CGI studio – the glossy commercial was filmed in a real place.
It was shot entirely in … South Africa.
The country’s diverse landscapes stood in for the many other locations suggested in the film, and in magazine ads that will doubtless soon be appearing in a publication near you.
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“You might soon be surprised by a new Laithwaites TV ad. Looks expensive; like we filmed around the world,” admits company founder Tony Laithwaite CBE, in a message to customers.
“Can you keep a secret? All done in a week in South Africa at various friends’ vineyards. Wish it had been me there.
“No, some young chap who doesn’t look like me, filmed going through all the kinds of varied and wonderful landscapes we know – know very well – to get the wines you want.
“Clever filming. Kangaroo signs and llamas came along too.”
Family business Laithwaites has been searching out wines for more than 50 years and its tasters have, indeed, visited all the places suggested in the fantastic film so it’s not really stretching the truth.
“‘We stop at nothing’, it says. It’s true,” adds Tony. “We go further and always have. It’s our ‘thing’; discovering those unknown wines that make Laithwaites the world’s favourite wine deliverers.”
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There’s a moral in the story, too. It’s the wine that matters, not necessarily where it comes from, or the fancy design on the label.
“It’s a funny thing but the price of any wine is to a large extent decided by its reputation,” explains Tony. “And the price of fame can be extremely high.
“How much does it cost to make a good bottle of wine? If you throw everything at it – a year’s constant work in vineyard then another in the cellar, expensive new barrels, etc – about £20. On a £60, or even £600, bottle that’s some very expensive fame.
“I’ve always believed it’s what’s IN the bottle that counts, not on the label. And so we go further, down the road where the others don’t bother. Forget fame, let’s enjoy the taste!
“You can’t make great wine everywhere. But you can make it in many more places than the ones everyone else boringly goes to.”
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