A new campaign for Tom Gore Vineyards uses deadpan humor to show that the quality of a bottle of wine is rooted in the passion of the farmers who grow the grapes. Directed by Eli Green of A Common Thread for San Francisco agency MUH-TAY-ZIK HOF-FER, the three spots position the brand of the family-operated California vintner as “A Farmer’s Wine.”
One spot opens on a couple examining the label of a wine bottle in a small shop. As the husband wonders aloud, “Who is Tom Gore?” the camera whip pans to reveal that the wine shop is literally situated in the middle of a vineyard, and there’s Tom himself, riding a red tractor. The emphatic voiceover supplies the answer to the husband’s question, “Tom Gore is the guy in the fields, making sure that the wine’s flavors are balanced…and smooth.”
The other two spots utilize the same whip pan device to connect Gore and his crew with wine lovers. One notes that “Tom Gore is not just a label; he’s a real guy who farms grapes.” In the other, the distinctive voiceover cautions a woman who’s about to toss out a bottle that’s not quite empty. “You weren’t about to waste the hard labor or Tom Gore and his crew, were you?” She retreats under the disbelieving stares of the grape pickers.
Green shot the commercials in the actual working vineyard with a cast that included Gore and his real-life workers. Despite the incongruity of the situations, they maintain deadpan expressions throughout. “The humor is not in the action. It’s in the moments in-between, the awkward silences, the pregnant pauses, the stares of disbelief that linger just a moment longer than necessary,” says Green.
Green adds that he spent a good amount of time speaking with the farm workers to get them to relax and coax the simple, natural performances he needed. “I wanted them to be comfortable on camera,” he recalls. “The fun thing was talking to them about their process. I learned more about farming than they did from me. It was magical.”