Handmaid’s Tale-inspired wines were launched and canceled within the same day after intense social media backlash from fans.
Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian classic, The Handmaid’s Tale has rocked all of our worlds. It’s an eerily timely show that not only is engaging but makes audiences think. But when it was announced that MGM was partnering with Lot18 to create Handmaid’s Tale-inspired wines, fans were…dubious.
Obviously, wine is great, and there has been a rise of fandom-related wines released into the market. However, the wines based on the characters Offred, Ofglen, and Serena Joy seemed to not just be a wine based on a great TV show, but it turned the horrors of the show into pithy marketing copy. Understandably, fans weren’t thrilled about it,
Detractors immediately took to social media to voice their displeasure with the products. As Hollywood Reporter states, those upset by the wine called it “tone deaf at best, and egregious capitalism at worst.”
“Can you turn rape into marketing copy?” “Sure, you bet.” “Great, it’s for Handmaid’s Tale wine.” “Haha, love it.” pic.twitter.com/9089Cveu0G
— Margaret Lyons (@margeincharge) July 10, 2018
Finally a product that combines everything I hate: wine, marketing, unbridled capitalism, and authoritarian patriarchal dystopias where women are chattel! https://t.co/Hd7242e2nR
— andi zeisler (@andizeisler) July 10, 2018
Understandably, it didn’t take long for such a vocal backlash to get the attention of MGM and Lot18, and the wine was pulled the same day it was launched. It’s a bit outrageous a product ever got off the ground which hinged on descriptions of wine flavors intermixed with the description of a dystopia filled with violent oppression and institutionalized sexual assault, but at least the companies ultimately did the right thing and pulled the product quickly.
Merchandising is a huge way for networks to capitalize on the popularity of a show, but some shows just don’t naturally lend themselves to cutesy product tie-ins. We just hope MGM took the fan feedback to heart as they consider future Handmaid’s Tale merchandising opportunities.