How one joke harmed Merlot sales for years | Nudge Newsletter 🧠


The joke that killed Merlot.

In 2004 the movie Sideways featured the character Miles, a wine connoisseur on a tour of wineries in California.

Miles, a heartbroken, miserable divorcé, who, in an effort to cheer himself up, goes on a wine tour with his friend Jack.

The film did wonders for the sales of Santa Barbara wines. Except for one variety: merlot.

Here’s why:

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Miles opted for pinot noir instead, for which sales have since skyrocketed.

When Sideways premiered in 2004, merlot made up close to 20 percent of California’s red wine market. A few years later, it dropped to 13 percent.

In the same period, pinot noir sales grew 16 percent.

Simply believing that the masses prefer pinot noir-results in us following that behaviour.

We change our behaviour, our memory, our actions, and our beliefs to match the herd.

Cheers,

Phill

P.S. This summer, the incredibly smart folks over at Habit Weekly are hosting a Behavioral Design Bootcamp.

Attendees will gain insights into BS models, improve behavioral design skills, access key resources, connect with peers on Slack, and join live expert-led sessions (potentially a session led by me...).

To join you'll need to subscribe to Habit Weekly Pro. It's good value and if you use the code "nudge" you'll get 50% off annual and lifetime memberships. Sign up here.

This isn't sponsored, I just really like the work Samuel and his team are doing.

Nudge Newsletter

I spend 18 hours each week turning marketing psychology into readable newsletters.

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