Give me a break. A French wine called Ratatouille was supposed to go on sale at Costco stores nationally on Aug. 1. Instead, Costco and Disney, whose Pixar studios made the film "Ratatouille," pulled the plug on the wine. All 500 cases of it, which was to be priced at $13.
Leading the objectors was Wine Institute, which represents the California wine industry. The voluntary code that all of its members follow prohibits the use of "cartoon characters or other images that could be appealing to those under the legal drinking age." Neither Costco nor the French winery that bottled the wine are members.
In the highly-acclaimed, popular animated film, Remy the rat drinks and serves wine, responsibly, as he beats the odds to become Paris' most celebrated chef. Millions of children saw that and, to my knowledge, none of them stumbled out of the theater to become winos.
The wine label does not show the actual Remy, who is drawn in three-dimensional detail on the film, but a stylized two-dimensional version of a similar looking blue rat holding a gigantic glass of white wine. It looks like a fin-de-siècle Parisian poster. I could see the objections if it were a scene from the movie, or a faithfully-rendered copy of the character, but it's not.
I can think of dozens of other wine labels that are drawn like cartoons, including lots of fuzzy animals from Australia. Are we going to hear objections to that, too? There shouldn't be. Did I miss reports of under-age drinkers faking IDs so they can buy Yellow Tail? Or stealing bottles from their parents' pantry?
I have no idea how good the wine was, but this was a responsible and brilliant marketing idea. Too bad it got shot down by worrywarts.
John Miller — Windsor, CA — August 1, 2007 2:52pm ET
John Osgood — New York, NY — August 1, 2007 6:53pm ET
Karl Mark — Geneva, IL. — August 1, 2007 10:20pm ET
Don Rauba — Schaumburg, IL — August 3, 2007 1:04am ET
Brent Rupnow — Valley Village, CA — August 8, 2007 3:41pm ET
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