Posts Tagged ‘David Stern’

Project Happiness Syrah

Project Happiness Syrah

This wine label leaped out at me because of the kitsch value. How retro, eh? I’d tell you more about the winemakers but whoever designed the web site chose a difficult-to-read font against a black background. Bad design! I didn’t get past the line that said one of the winemakers graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 1996. He earned a communications degree, but it seems he could use a little more know-how on the visual communications front.

Project Happiness Syrah is vinted and bottled by Oreana Winery, in Creston, Calif. From the label:

Finally, somebody put it in a bottle. Happiness. Sure took awhile, though. Seeking happiness? What makes happiness? We winemakers pondered this one afternoon in the Cellar. Marriage? Kids? Satellite TV? . . . Remember the 1950s, try to forget the 1980s. Wear searsucker at least once. Adopt a dog? Maybe a cat.

As bold supporters of the mischief that ensues upon opening a bottle, we pose the question to you. . .What makes you happy?

At that, you’re invited to tell them at the the “What Makes You Happy?” blog. To call it a blog is a stretch. Started in 2007, the blog features no posts and 42 comments, nearly all left by anonymous. Everything about this wine says, “no effort.”

What else can I add? The smiley face itself has its own history. The Happy Face was created in 1966 by David Stern, who owned a small ad agency. The idea came to him after seeing “Bye, Bye Birdie.” He thought a smiley face would be just the thing for a bank’s ad campaign. The headline: “Open a Savings Account at University Federal Savings and Put on a Happy Face.” Because he didn’t trademark it, Stern did not make anything from a symbol that became ubiquitous through the Seventies and resurfaces occasionally, including on this wine. You can read Stern’s account here.

Here’s the song, “Put on a Happy Face,” that served as the spark for Stern’s smiley face. This clip is from the 1995 TV version with Jason Alexander, whom most people know from “Seinfeld.” I’ve not seen this version, but hear that it paled in comparison to the original and the Broadway musical, which debuted in 1960.  The original movie came out in 1963 and starred Dick Van Dyke, Ann-Margret, Janet Leigh and Maureen Stapleton. The movie tells the story of a rock-and-roll star (think “Elvis”) who is drafted into the military. The winner of a contest gets to kiss him goodbye on the Ed Sullivan Show.

You can hear a short clip from the 1963 movie at Amazon.

As for this syrah, it too was not memorable.


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