Elizabeth Banks’ Instagram snake giveaway is a game changer for celebrity wine marketing

The hardest I’ve laughed at a wine advertisement in a long time (maybe ever) was on Tuesday, when my colleague Jess Lander shared with me a video from the canned-wine company Archer Roose. Its latest promotion: the Archer Roose Snake Rewards Program.

In the video, actor Elizabeth Banks — an investor in the company and its “chief creative officer” — announces that “running a sustainably sourced wine business is about giving back.” That’s why, she says, Archer Roose is offering a special giveaway. For every 100,000 cases of wine you buy, you’ll be sent a live snake.

The camera pans out to reveal a snake draped over Banks’ arms, slithering its head and flicking its tongue. “That’s right: a live snake of our choosing, sent right to your door while supplies last,” Banks continues, totally deadpan. “Because we believe wine can make the world a better place. And you deserve the snake of your dreams.”

Obviously, it’s a joke, though the Archer Roose executive team would not admit anything of the sort on the record during a conversation Wednesday morning. In addition to being a good, old-fashioned, attention-grabbing ad stunt, it seems to be an elaborate — and very clever — satire on the concept of corporate rewards programs, which are becoming prevalent among companies ranging from Starbucks to Sephora to REI. The latest company to announce such a program, in fact, is Gallo, which is offering run-of-the-mill prizes like gift cards to loyal buyers of Apothic, Barefoot and its other brands. One gaming startup, Spielworks, has even gone so far as to offer NFTs as rewards for playing their games.

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