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Wines & Vines

Wine advertising today

Wine advertising today

Larry Walker

Wine advertising in the United States grew to an estimated $145 million last year, compared to $135.2 million in 2000. If I’m doing the numbers right, that’s a gain of just over 7%. Not a huge leap, but it does outpace the growth in wine sales. By contrast, beer spending was $953.4 million while spirits companies spent $406.7 million, according to Adams Media.

“It’s staggering what a small voice we have out there,” Eileen Fredrikson of Gomberg, Fredrikson Associates commented. “We are very tiny compared to someone like Budweiser.” She agreed, however, that it doesn’t really make sense for most wineries to spend the kind of money a national campaign costs. Indeed, very few could afford it, even if it did make sense.

“There are some very good campaigns going on, especially in print, and there is a lot of excitement about niche markets, like the food channel. I have a question as to whether niche markets are the best way to capture share of mind,” she said.

“Advertising is classically a part of marketing,” Fredrikson said. “In a time when funds are limited, marketing is getting less attention than sales. If you look at the job openings in the industry, wineries are looking for sales people. They are putting their money on the street to help build brand identity.”

She added, “Everyone is talking about branding, but it isn’t clear that doing that through advertising has been terribly successful. I still run across people who think Sebastiani is an Italian wine.

Along those lines, Fetzer has shifted the focus of its advertising campaign away from consumers toward the trade, according to Tom Meyer, vice president of marketing for Brown-Forman/Fetzer. “We’ve always had a print campaign. In the last few years we have become more trade oriented to focus attention on the Fetzer brand. To that end, we are also doing more television advertising in an effort to build brand awareness. We found that not as many people know who Fetzer is as we thought,” he said.

Based on a review of past campaigns, Fetzer has put together a U.S. campaign that will focus on television, print and radio. A European campaign will focus on print and outdoor advertising, with the tagline “True to Our Roots.” The new U.S. campaign begins this month and continues through the end of December. “We’ll be in three or four consumer books, in the Spectator and Wine Enthusiast, with radio in selected markets,” Meyer said.

According to Meyer, the concept behind the campaign was based on three points that are key to Fetzer:

* Authenticity, which includes environmental issues;

* Responsibility, including innovative leadership;

* Sense of individuality.

Total spending for the new campaign is in the $11 million range, according to Meyer.

The Woodbridge Approach

Dennis Joyce of Mondavi Woodbridge also sees one role of advertising as building the brand through the trade, but he said they take a balanced approach with the brand as they also reach Out for consumers.

In May, the Robert Mondavi Company selected The Richards Group as advertising agency of record for its Woodbridge brand. Richards, a Dallas company, was awarded the estimated $15 million creative and media account after a review conducted by consultant Roth and Associates. Dailey & Associates previously handled the account.

“We chose The Richards Group because we like the way they approach the entire branding process. They create outstanding work, and are totally committed to their clients,” said Joyce, who is senior vice president of Woodbridge Winery.

Joyce said he couldn’t comment at this point on details of the campaign, which will break in October. He did say that Woodbridge demographics skew toward the female, with 60% to 65% of sales to women. “A large part of our volume is chain and club stores. All in all, 85% of our volume is sold off-premises.”

In a general sense, Joyce said it seems to follow historically that when the industry as a whole puts its money behind advertising, per capita consumption has increased.

“With all the choices available to the consumer, we feel that advertising can be one tool to help us gain in the market. It’s a brand building effort. We want people to come into the store looking for Woodbridge,” Joyce said.

Delicato Comes Out

Delicato has been around for 78 years, but the brand is virtually unknown to the consumer, according to Kathy McAfee, vice president of marketing for the company. “We are really a new brand to the consumer. We are starting with a clean slate,” she said. “We have been advertising for the past three years on television, print and radio and have combined that with a public relations campaign.”

McAfee said the campaign had been built around very good press that the winery has been getting for the quality of its Delicato and Monterra brands. McAfee said the campaign in the U.S. and England was at a high level in the fourth quarter of last year when it was in the $1 million range. “It’s a little lighter now.”

“We are using advertising as an overall part of our basic marketing strategy, to build awareness of what the brand stands for,” she added.

Canandaigua’s Campaigns

The campaign for Canandaigua’s Talus brand is aimed at consumers, both men and women, in the 25 to 44 age group. The ads are running in Food & Wine, Cooking Light and Sunset magazine on a rotating basis through the end of the year. The campaign for Covey Run features the Covey Run quails, Murray and Maude, and are running in Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast and The Northwest Palate.

Canandaigua has a number of current advertising campaigns which seem generally to aim at a balance between trade and consumer. All focus on print advertising, are national in scale and considered part of overall brand strategy, according to Jennifer Scott of Balzac Communications.

For the Dunnewood campaign, there is a focus on raising awareness about Mendocino as a wine producing area. The audience here is as much trade (distributors, retailers, restaurants) as consumers. The ads are running in Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Sante, Wine News and Quarterly Review of Wines.

Canandaigua has also targeted both trade and consumers for its popular Australian brand, Alice White. The “Have a Glass with Alice” ads are running in Wine Spectator.

Australia is very active altogether in U.S. advertising. Shawn Loggins, vice president/marketing director for Southcorp, said, “Our goal is to reach new consumers, which means anyone who doesn’t now drink one of our products. It can be an existing wine drinker or can be new to the industry, perhaps a beer drinker who for one reason or another is switching to wine.” He said their goal was really the standard one of building brand identity and awareness.

Southcorp is running three primary campaigns in 15 key markets, a combination of print, billboards and radio in both consumer and trade publications. The campaigns are related to Southcorp’s tiers of wines within the brands of Penfolds, Lindemans and Rosemount.

“Little German” Campaign

“We have been the largest exporter of German wines to the U.S. for over 20 years. In the past, we have always done programs to push wine to retailers and restaurants, but had never done anything to create consumer awareness,” he said.

Schmitt-Sohne is by far the biggest German wine advertiser. The company’s current campaign for their Riesling is the “Little German” print campaign, running in both the UK and the U.S. Chris Klau, president of Schmitt-Sohne USA, said the campaign, which uses humor as a tool, is aimed at both male and female consumers and has run in People magazine and other consumer publications. The on-going cost is now in excess of $1 million.

The ad itself is almost generic and Klau agreed that it should help create awareness of the entire German category, which does need help in the U.S.

“We do want people to give us a try. We represent 40% of the German wine market in the U.S. and a certain responsibility comes with that,” he added.

Most of the major importing regions have a generic presence in the U.S., either in direct advertising or through promotional efforts. Some say this helps to explain the steady growth of imports in the U.S. market through the 1990s and into this century. On the other hand, the U.S. has not had a major generic program for some time.

There is some question, given the limited resources of most wineries, that advertising is the best way to build brand awareness. Speaking at the Wine-Vision conference in July, Sean Baenen, managing director of Odyssey, a San Francisco market research firm, said wineries must think of new ways to reach consumers. He said that currently the industry has not developed strong brand awareness.

He said that only Gallo and Beringer are recognized by 70% or more of U.S. wine consumers. Baenen said that at least one-third of American wine drinkers don’t even recognize the name Robert Mondavi, while 55% have no idea who or what Kendall-Jackson might be. He pointed out that without that brand recognition, consumers have become price conscious rather than brand loyal.

Brands in the UK

Brands have become of great importance in the UK and according to some, branding has played a key role in the big increase in wine consumption there in the past dozen years or so.

Simon Legge, marketing director for Brown-Forman in the UK, said, “Clearly how and where one advertises one’s wine brand demands very sensitive treatment, particularly in the UK, where marketing skepticism is very much on the increase. This is especially the case for premium wine brands and relatively more sophisticated consumers. The best ads focus on truth,” he said.

He said that wine advertising in the UK has evolved in line with the evolution of wine brand development and consumer wine sophistication and experience. “So in the late 1970s to mid-1980s when ‘hard brands’ like Black Tower, Hirondelle, Mateus, Paul Masson Carafes, Piat d’Or and so-on were in vogue, our then relatively unsophisticated wine market was exposed to wine advertising relating to these packaging-driven commercial wines. The advertising tended to use mass market media, notably TV, focusing on the enjoyment and lifestyle aspects of wine, as opposed to the provenance and product credentials,” Legge observed.

Legge said that in the mid- to late-1980s, with the arrival of semi-premium wine brands like Jacobs Creek and Gallo, press and poster advertising became the favored media, which in turn allowed for more accurate targeting of the customer. “These brands, by and large, emphasized their provenance more, especially in relation to the people who made the wine, that is, the Gallo family, and the place or product.” Legge added that this trend has continued with the likes of Hardys, Blossom Hill, Lindemans and others, with some of the advertising developing a lifestyle edge. “Generic bodies like Bordeaux and German wines have also weighed in here,” he said.

“In the very late 1990s to date, we have seen the addition of premium wine brand advertising by the likes of Penfolds, Rosemount, Wolf Blass and Fetzer, which have focused more on product quality and proenance,” Legge said.

There has been a new emphasis on consumer advertising, due in some respects to a more competitive and larger wine brand market, he said. Legge added that wineries have learned not to rely on press coverage for marketing, as such coverage tends to diminish over time and “wine journalist columns are not necessarily read by a growing number of brand customers.”

COPYRIGHT 2002 Hiaring Company

COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group