01 Oct 50 Shades of Grey: How far is too far?

It’s Thanksgiving and a young man is going to his girlfriend’s house to meet the parents. He wants to impress the folks. He’s heard from friends that taking flowers and wine to the mother is always a good start. He doesn’t know much about wine so he just grabs a $20 bottle of something called, “Red Satin” from the store shelf. It sounds smooth, it looks fancy, so how can he go wrong?

He enters the parents home, perspiration already gathering on his temples, as he shakes the fathers hand. The mother takes the flowers and wine from him and gives him a big hug. Then she looks at the wine label and her warm smile goes flat and her eyes open wide in shock. She realizes it isn’t just any wine. It is “50 Shades of Grey” wine.


Courtesy of abcnews.com

This is the scenario in which we see someone buying E L James’ 50 Shades wine. The other more realistic buyer is a housewife who curls up on the couch with a glass of wine for a quiet evening in while reading a romance novel. There is no arguing; the audience for this brand is limited. Our prediction is this idea will be a flop.

In 2011, 50 Shades of Grey was released and over six million copies were sold. What made it sell so well? Sex appeal. Everyone heard that this book was scandalous (to say the least), thus prompting it’s popularity into the mainstream, and soon enough demands for a movie were being made and sequels were being published. E L James took it a step further by turning her books into a brand and launched a wine collection featuring, “Red Satin” and “White Silk.”

Even when the book was a hot commodity two years ago, not everyone was proud to make their purchase known since the book was infamous for having such a reputation. You definitely never saw anyone reading this in Starbucks. This guilty pleasure issue prompts the question, how well will the brand do, especially if the limited audience it already has is infamous for keeping it their little secret?

It seems likely that the wine will sell more online than in stores, since this gives closet readers the option to maintain their secret obsession. Our concern is, will the wine even sale in stores? If so, we don’t see the win staying on shelves a year from now. Regular wine buyers are not going to buy this wine. Majority of males are not going to buy it either. And the females who are interested in it but are slightly embarrassed about their love for the book probably won’t buy it out of fear of being judged, so who else do they have left to sell to? The only people we can think of are the proud housewives and that one poor, clueless young man attempting to pick out a wine to impress his girlfriend’s parents.

Written by Aleece Reynaga, Marketing Assistant

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