Barefoot Wine’s New Ad With Aubrey Plaza Takes Place in Kenan Thompson’s Dreams

Brand had to rewrite the ad to move the party after Covid-19 hit

kenan thompson and aubrey plaza
Barefoot Wine

Barefoot Wine debuted its new wine-based hard seltzers earlier this year, and had planned to launch a summer campaign in April featuring them in spritzers. The campaign, which would have been the brand’s first for TV, stars Parks and Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza and Saturday Night Live’s Kenan Thompson.

But after the coronavirus pandemic upended marketing plans in nearly every category, Barefoot had to hold off on airing the 30-second spot—ultimately relocating the party into Thompson’s dreams, using voiceovers to shift the message. The brand also scrapped its TV buy, putting the ad out through digital, social and targeted online campaigns instead.

Adweek spoke to Plaza back in early March, after the spot was filmed and before shelter-in-place ordinances and self-quarantines had become part of our vernacular. Back then, Plaza was looking forward to partying with spritzers and seltzers all summer, and counting herself lucky for getting to work with Thompson—which she said really didn’t feel like work at all.

“Even though it wasn’t a real pool party, we were still shooting at a really cool house in Los Angeles in the sun and by the pool, and there was really good music,” she recalled.

The best part, according to Plaza, was getting to work alongside Thompson. “Obviously, everyone wants to be on Saturday Night Live, but not everyone gets to,” she said. So she decided to just treat the shoot as her own personal SNL skit.

Aubrey Plaza spoke to Adweek in March about her role in the spot.
Barefoot Wines

“It was really fun to improvise with [Thompson],” said Plaza. “He’s so hilarious. Every take, he was just making me laugh.”

Being a brand representative still leaves Plaza puzzled, to some extent. “It’s always really surprising and fun to me when I get asked to do stuff like this because I never think anyone cares what I am doing or what I think about anything,” she said.

Plaza did admit her attitude of not taking things too seriously and always having fun makes sense for a summer ad campaign, making it a good fit for her. “I wouldn’t ever do anything that I feel embarrassed by,” she said.

“I love parties. I love to party. You know, let’s go.”

Originally, the spot was meant to feature a bet between the two comedic actors, who were trying to prove which one knew their friend group better by predicting whether each of their friends’ preferred spritzers or seltzers.

While much of that footage didn’t make the final spot, the chemistry between Thompson and Plaza is still apparent—and the outtakes must just be solid gold.

@klundster Kathryn Lundstrom is Adweek's breaking news reporter based in Austin.