Asti “Balloons”

An ad for sparkling wine shouldn’t fall flat. Yet here we are. David & Goliath uncorks “Balloons” as its first flight for Bacardi’s Martini & Rossi Asti sparkling wine. The ’60s Euro-retro “La la la” soundtrack, muted color palette and roof-deck soiree with obnoxiously good-looking types are cloying in the extreme. Still, the approach does make sense given the brand’s Italian heritage and might have worked if it hadn’t all been a buildup to a weak visual metaphor — the orbs rise into the sky like wine bubbles — and the silly tagline “Let go.” Many ads fail by being heavy-handed. Here, the method is too ethereal, and the spot’s quest for a light touch leaves the message insubstantial and adrift in the wind. –David Gianatasio