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Actor and comedian Greg Proops of "Whose Line is It Anyway?" stars as 'The Recommendeuer' in an iPad app developed by the Washington Wine Commission. Washington Wine Commission

Actor and comedian Greg Proops of “Whose Line is It Anyway?” stars as ‘The Recommendeuer’ in an iPad app developed by the Washington Wine Commission.
Washington Wine Commission

The Washington State Wine Commission is using the edgy humor of a fictional wine personality “The Recommendeuer” in a new iPad app (application) to educate the nation’s top wine influencers about Washington’s wine industry.
The national marketing campaign launched October 28 represents a major shift in the Wine Commission’s focus, said Steve Warner, president of the Seattle-based marketing and research arm for the state’s wine grape growers and wineries. Warner, who’s been at the helm of the Wine Commission for less than two years, said the commission’s board of directors believes the commission can be more effective by sharpening its focus on trade and media representatives that influence consumers. “But it’s an extremely crowded and noisy market, with wines from around the world vying for attention of wine influencers. It means that we have to do something very different and creative to reach them.”

That’s where “The Recommendeuer” comes in.

Actor and comedian Greg Proops of “Whose Line is It Anyway?” plays the somewhat-stuffy wine professional who’s an expert on Washington wines and is not shy about recommending them. The iPad app features Proops donning a plaid suit and swirling a wine glass, playing “The Recommendeuer” in a series of video vignettes. The interactive app delivers in-depth information about the state’s wine industry in a funny and nutty way, providing industry facts and statistics, history of the state’s wine industry, geology, maps of the 13 AVAs (American Viticultural Area), profiles of growers and winemakers, varieties grown, wine and food pairing, and more.

In rolling out the campaign, the Wine Commission sent about 100 mini iPads loaded with “The Recommendeuer” app and a personalized message to top U.S. wine retailers, buyers, journalists, and other wine influencers. The concept of “The Recommendeuer” was developed by GreenRubio, an integrated marketing agency headquartered in Seattle.

The Recommendeuer app is currently available only for iPads, although a mobile phone app is being developed and should be available by the end of the year.

The Wine Commission is promoting the app to the wine trade as per its marketing agreement with Proops, but anyone can download the free app by searching Washington wines at the iTunes AppStore. The marketing campaign also includes a Twitter feed from The Recommendeuer.

Warner shared that within a few days of The Recommendeuer app’s release, it had received five-star reviews. Initial feedback also has been excellent.

Look for the full story in the December issue of Good Fruit Grower.