Opening Up Over Wine

//  08.18.20

Open Wines gets people to open up in an emotional new campaign from Bensimon Byrne

Our interpersonal relationships have taken on even greater meaning and resonance during the pandemic, and Open Wines is celebrating that emotion in a touching new campaign.

Developed by Bensimon Byrne in collaboration with Arterra Wines, “When we open up, we let life in,” is built around a series of testimonial videos featuring people reading an actual letter from someone significant in their life, accompanied by footage of them together. The letters tell how the recipient provided them with support or inspiration at a time in their life they needed it most.

Open Wines has built a brand position around self-expression, and this new campaign focuses on how being vulnerable and expressing oneself can lead to a deeper bond between two people. “Something happens over a bottle of wine when it’s shared between two people, especially when those two people have a bond,” says Joseph Bonnici, Bensimon Byrne partner, executive creative director, Bensimon Byrne. “People open up. They share. They reveal themselves.”

The spots feature three different sets of people, all sharing deeply personal stories about their life:

Brothers Seth and Mac. In his letter, Mac praises his brother Seth for his courage in coming out as transgender while demonstrating strength, resilience and authenticity. “May you keep being true to yourself, and keep giving back to this world, because we all need more people like you,” says Mac.

Marie and her mother Lynn: In her letter, Marie thanks her mother for helping to come out and accepting her sexuality. “Of you didn’t accept me, I would have had to mourn the loss of my relationship with my mother, but also the loss of my teacher, my role model, and my closest friend,” she writes.

Mathusha and her mother Kavitha: Mathusa’s letter to her mother addresses the complex mother/daughter dynamic exacerbated by cultural differences, but notes that their bond has strengthened as she’s grown older. “I can’t imagine not sharing my day with you, not having a place to rest my head, not linking arms as we walk through the mall,” she writes.

Bensimon Byrne solicited submissions on various social channels, whittling hundreds of submissions down to about 20 stories before starting the campaign with these three videos. While the videos were shot prior to the pandemic, they feature the raw emotion that has become so common during these unique times.

All of the participants were chosen because of their willingness to share a deeply personal story, while director Henry Lu of Soft Citizen was instrumental in capturing the participants’ true emotions.

The campaign will include 15-second and six-second cutdowns running across TV and social channels including YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, all driving to a dedicated landing page housing the full-length videos.


Client: Arterra Wines
Brand: Open Wines
EVP, Chief Marketing Officer: Andrea Hunt
Vice President Marketing: Wendy Montgomery
Brand Manager: Jayme Donohoe
Senior Brand Manager: David Patton
Associate Brand Manager: Whitney Collins

Agency: Bensimon Byrne
Partner/ECD: Joseph Bonnici
CDs: Gints Bruveris / David Mueller
ACD: Lorne Covant
Writer: Sam Ramsay
Art Director: Amy Fernandes
Producer: Caroline Clarke
Brand Lead: Chris Roop / Meghan Schroeder / Laura Robinson / Aviva Togman
Project Manager: Jenny Guth / Alex Ireland / Stephanie Niro
Strategy: Stefan Gerard / Jorge Aguilar

Production Company: Soft Citizen
Executive Producer: Link York / Rob Burn / Jaclyn Morga
Director: Henry Lu
Line Producer: Joe McLaren
DOP: Farhad Ghaderi
Photographer: Jennifer Roberts

Casting: Jigsaw Casting

Post Production Offline: Rooster Post Production
Producer: Melissa Kahn / Alanna Homuth
Editor: Michelle Czukar
Assistant: Jordan Giles

Transfer: Alter Ego
Colourist: Eric Whipp

Post Production Online: Fort York
Producer: Armen Bunag
Flame Artist: Melissa Vasiliev

Audio House: Berkeley Inc.
Producer: Tyna Maerzke
Director: Jared Kuemper

Engineer: Jared Kuemper