Champagne Deutz gets a make over – new packaging

Champagne Deutz gets a make over – new packaging – Brief Article

Tina Caputo

I am a sucker for packaging. No matter how loyal I am to a particular brand, my wandering eye can easily be drawn away by the novelty of a nifty new label, container or closure. This is true for most anything, from spaghetti sauces to dishwashing liquids–but it’s especially true for wine. When faced with a shelf full of unfamiliar wines at the grocery store, I’m the chump who’s most likely to pick the one with the most impressive label. To me, few things in the wine world are sadder than to see a beautiful beverage trapped inside a hideous bottle. It’s just not fair.

So when Champagne Deutz changed its labels and packaging in mid-1998, I took notice. I liked the wines well enough before the makeover, but the bottle wasn’t exactly something to be seen with at a chic restaurant. “I know it’s not very pretty, but the wine’s got a great personality,” I’d imagine myself saying, as if the wine was some homely cousin I was trying to set up on a blind date. Better to order a stylish bottle of “J” and save my own reputation.

After the Deutz packaging redesign, it was a different story. Gone were the forest green bottles and Germanic-looking red and white labels that practically screamed, “I’m old and stodgy!” The new labels ranged in color from cool celadon green to dusty rose, each with a subtle filigree-patterned background. Metallic gold and copper lettering replaced the dull black print of yesteryear, and the old bottles were upgraded to bright emerald green or crystal clear ones. Not exactly cutting-edge stuff, but the picture of understated elegance and class.

Why Change?

So what prompted the folks at Deutz to give their packaging such a dramatic makeover? And, more importantly, was the change successful? To find the answers to these questions, I spoke with Christophe Hirondel of Champagne Deutz, who, along with Deutz chairman and ceo Fabrice Rosset, was closely involved in the redesign process.

“The first perception of a brand for a new consumer is visual,” Hirondel said. “The quality of the wine is reflected by the packaging as well as the level of price and the distribution.”

The old Deutz packaging had been in use for about four years, Hirondel said, and Fabrice Rosset felt that a change was needed.

“The previous packaging was too austere, too strict and did not reflect the quality, the delicacy and the appealing seduction of Deutz wines,” he explained.

“We asked Mediane of Paris, a design company we had been working with for approximately 15 years, to handle the job,” he said. “This designer has a perfect understanding of the sensitivity of our brand and has always created stylish and distinctive packaging.”

At only $22,000 later, Deutz had a whole new look that more accurately reflected its brand image. According to Hirondel, the result was worth the money.

“In consideration of the new marketing policy, the change was vital,” he said. “We wanted to convey a new and trendy image synonymous with style, tradition, elegance and subtlety. Flashy colors were avoided and the second empire style was a fundamental source of inspiration.”

Label Inspiration

According to the folks at Deutz, the inspiration for the background filigree on the new labels was taken from very early champagne bottles. The ornate pattern was chosen to represent the company’s expertise and the long tradition of the Deutz brand since 1838.

The improved labels also featured the sculptured cherub that stands in the Deutz courtyard in Ay, France. This cupid was meant to embody the delicacy, grace and elegance of a fine champagne.

The label colors (deep celadon green for the Brut Classic, edelweiss white for the Blanc de Blancs, dusty rose with a Pinot noir-colored sheen for the Brut Rose and an iridescent gold for the Brut Vintage) were selected for their subdued elegance and timeless flair. (Do you detect a theme here?)

Deutz also updated its gift boxes and cases to match the look of the new labels. Corrugated paper was the material of choice, and various corrugation widths were used to distinguish between the different champagnes.

“The corrugations of the Cuvee William Deutz gift box are quite fine, whereas the ridges of the paper used for the cases of the other cuvees are more pronounced,” he explained. “The paper covering the Cuvee William gift box is tastefully set off by flecked gold lettering. On the other cuvee cases, the ridges flatten out to leave room for the gilt lettering stamped in filigree on a foliated scroll pattern.”

Increased Sales

According to Hirondel, all the thought and effort that went into the new packaging paid off quickly through public acceptance and increased sales.

“The new packaging was instantly very well received by the market,” he said. “The repositioning of the brand had a direct positive effect on sales, which was noticeable six months after the change.”

This was confirmed by Johnson Ho, proprietor of Knightsbridge Wines in Northbrook, Ill., who noted that his customers were more receptive to Deutz champagnes after the packaging change.

“The Deutz change was certainly handled more professionally than most brand updates,” Ho said. “There’s an overall consistency to the look and feel of the packaging. Wineries often redo their packaging in a piecemeal fashion so the wines end up looking like children with different fathers. It’s not particularly pleasant when you line them all up. If a house doesn’t know how to package its wines properly it makes you wonder if they even know how to make good wine.

“With champagne, there are only a few bottles that really pop out and get people’s attention,” he continued. “Very few of them have a distinctive look that is fairly updated. The new Deutz packaging was a great improvement over the old look, especially the Cuvee William, which desperately needed an update. The gift boxes and gift bags are also very slick and very well done. They show that they’ve made a big effort to package Deutz as an impressive gift, which is important for champagne sales.

“What Ho didn’t mention is that, after the Deutz makeover, shallow packaging junkies like me could be seen with Deutz champagnes in the hoity-toitiest eateries without a modicum of shame. I even brought a jeroboam of the Deutz Brut Classic to my friend’s wedding–and this time, it wasn’t a blind date.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Hiaring Company

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group