There is a peculiar strain of marketing based on the founding principle of that pithy little dictum about all publicity being good publicity that staunchly believes anything people like can be tied back into selling a product. Its most fervent disciples are those who think a Hulk fragrance would be a great idea, or that chili might taste better if made in a slow-cooker from a galaxy far, far away. But this product tie-in fundamentalism almost gave us a new line of wines tied to The Handmaid’s Tale, yanking us further into an ever weirder realm of commercial absurdity. Almost.
Online wine retailer Lot 18 and MGM Television have worked together before on TV-branded wines for The Walking Dead and Portlandia, but quickly canceled their newest collaboration after the social media backlash seemingly snapped them back to their senses. Turns out tying a line of wines to a story about a brutal fascist dictatorship built on the disenfranchisement of women, rape and abuse, and a second season that some have called “torture porn,” miiiiight not be a great idea.
The three wines were based on characters Offred, Ofglen, and Serena Joy as a pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, and a Bordeaux blanc, respectively. The product descriptions were full of creepy, inappropriate double-entendres. “Lush, fruit flavors of cherry and cassis are complemented by earthy flavors of mushroom and forest floor. We honor Offred with a wine that will stay with you long after you’ve finished your glass and a powerful experience you will never forget.”
Thankfully, common sense seems to have made its way to the MGM Television marketing department and the wines are no longer available. The canceled collaboration was first reported by People, and MGM has not responded to Fast Company‘s request for comment.
At least it wasn’t Gilead-inspired lingerie.