Case study

Germany Reunification: the invention of joy

Highlighting less known touristic attractions in the XXI century Germany. Introducing the touristic context of one of the main wine regions in the world, focusing on the present and the future.


Highlighting less known touristic attractions in the XXI century Germany. Introducing the touristic context of one of the main wine regions in the world, focusing on the present and the future.

October 2015 was the 25th Anniversary of Germany’s reunification. To celebrate it, the Germany National Tourism Board decided to make a series to focus on the present of the country and its many (sometimes hidden) attractions.
That’s how KickTheGrind and Storytravelers , the coproducers of the main series contacted us first to define the visual identity of the series , and finally to create one episode: the Rheinland-Palatinate wine region.

The main challenge in this case was to tell a complex and rich story of a region with many centuries of history in wine production, but from a modern point of view, focusing not so much on history and the past, but mostly in the technological breakthroughs and the whole world that unveils around wine production.

Of course, being a touristic promotion piece, the main need to satisfy is to cover a large area with very different attractions in one single story container.

In only 18 days, we had to cover most of the highlights of the region, including wineries, restaurants, museums, towers, castles, fields, and main landmarks, while visiting, shooting and interviewing the main characters of each specific story.

After several collaborations with KickTheGrind and Storytravelers, and concepting the visual identity of the series, we had the confidence and know how to get involved in such an important project, creating one of the 20 chapters to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Germany’s Reunification.

The shooting

We travelled with Mike Corey across the Rheinland Palatinate region, meeting wine experts, tour guides, and the very protagonists of the story in a very short timeframe. In order to cover the whole region we travelled for 18 days across the region, with a schedule of one to three locations/meetings a day, and with several much needed free days, that weren’t completely free since they were also used for travelling broader distances.

Thanks to the previous work of Caspar and Mike, the client gave us total creative freedom to develop the characters, briefing us with the main goal of the episode and a series of do’s and don’ts to keep a cohesive structure across the series. The main challenge was that it was too long and difficult to know all the stories beforehand, so we were pretty much discovering many particulars during the shooting itself. How can we combine different stories, from different characters and different locations in one single short story?

How can we combine different stories, from different characters and different locations in one single short story?

Drafting a strategy

Our strategy was very aligned to the principles of design thinking. We met the locals, talked to them, and they kindly hosted us, showed us the land and their particular stories, and answered all our questions, in this case most of the times between sips of wine.

Then at the end of each day we gathered all the info, and confronted our results with a previous strategy, and prototyped a copy and a storyline for the piece, tweaking it when necesary and thinking ahead both the questions and the shotlist for the next days.

For example, since the main character in this chapter is wine, we decided that we should actually have it personified by a wine glass. So the first day with Mike, pretty much after we landed and had a very quick check in and brief, we bough three identical wine glasses, and a bottle of white wine that travelled with us during the whole trip.

A bit of poetry

For this project I read a lot of wine poetry, from authors from all over the world, including Goethe and Borges among others. In sonnet to wine, Borges writes: In what kingdom, in what century, under what silent conjunction of the stars, on what secret day that stone has not preserved, emerged the valiant and singular idea of inventing mirth and play?
That’s were “the invention of joy” idea came. In those poems, the worlds within worlds were a recurrent subject. I was also quite fond with the teaser of “Tomorrowland”, a film that I haven’t watched yet, but a particular effect to portray this world change caught my eye, and I thought it could be the perfect vessel for our transitions. That’s why we shot the wine glass on each location, in exactly the same position, in order to have a transition point between scenes and worlds.

“In what kingdom, in what century, under what silent conjunction of the stars, on what secret day that stone has not preserved, emerged the valiant and singular idea of inventing mirth and play?”

So long story short, the main strategy was Immersion, tweaking, iteration.

A quick immersion to get the feel of the people and the vibe of each place, a tweaking of the story to fit the new one into the big picture, and an iteration to proof that the main communication objectives were still met.

In that sense, the piece followed the following structure:

Intro (the everyday world) -> Land (the wine world) -> Origins -> The winemakers -> From press to press -> Knowledge and technology -> The joy -> Outro


With that structure, we were able to fit in several destinations and landmarks that were also in the wine route, but not directly connected with wine, like the city of Koblenz, the Lorelei rock, the Mainz cathedral, Hambach Castle and the first german flag, Maus Castle in the Rhein, a wine fest, and several restaurants and food venues portraying the gastronomy of the region.
A voiceover tied the whole package up putting in context the visual story, so it could be also easily read on an abstract level, without being too informative or boring.

In conclusion, the deadline was met on time, and we had the chance to start with a main concept flexible enough to allow further enhancements in real time, without going off topic, and meeting the client’s demands. We also discovered ourselves and incredible land where joy really is present in its people, and we fell in love with Riesling and its cousins.

In that sense I’d like to thank the wonderful people that helped made this story possible, among them Barbara Imo, Mr Böckmann from Hambach Castle, Paola Tonello y her colleague, the best sommelier of the RheinPfalz, Christian Schneider, Jörg Krick of DreiKönningshof, the sweet Mrs. Weegmüller, that received us with open arms, Harmut Hager from Koblenz, Annelies Paige, Kerstin Peters, Matthias Grünewald of Weingut Bernhard, Patricia Palums, the wine princess, and the people of the GNTB, Katharina Fischer, Hemmi Eckardt, Elif Kablan, and last but not least but not least all the wonderful people that we met on the road.

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