Drinking Outside The Box

With Simon Woods – wine for people who have a life

Everything bad about wine-marketing-speak… April 9, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Published by 10 Comments

…probably appears somewhere in this article in Drinks Business. I hope it’s a reprint of a press release, rather than something a sentient member of staff has written. If some of the sentences are incomprehensible to normal people, I provide translation below…

E&J Gallo is seeking to attract more drinkers to the premium Californian wine sector in 2009 with the UK rollout of its male-oriented Redwood Creek brand following its success in the US market.
Gallo is trying to sell more wine to men – they were gullible enough in the US, why not here?

Redwood Creek is championed as a drink for those who enjoy the ‘great outdoors’ and aims to attract 35-65-year-old men to the sector.
(really not sure what this means – does it taste different from wines that appeal to couch potatoes?)

To emphasise the outdoor-type theme, the brand has agreed tie-ups with outdoor clothing label Regatta and the Woodland Trust in order to drive the brand towards its target market.
We’re spending money on promoting it – if you’re lucky, you might win a waterproof jacket and get some free days out in a forest.

Iain Newell, marketing director for Europe at Gallo, said: “This is more about hiking, fishing and camping than extreme sports and we are planning a programme of events and promotions around these areas to launch and develop the brand.”
Will appeal to those who like watching Ray Mears and Bear Grylls

Initially the range will consist of two reds – a Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon – and a Chardonnay, all retailing at £6.99.
…but probably available cheaper on promotion – hey, you might win some hiking boots!

Redwood Creek will be rolled out across all grocery and impulse channels after encouraging performances in the on-trade and with listings at Morrisons and Thresher.
(again, not sure what this means – if anyone knows what an impulse channel is, please will they let me know)

Turning Leaf is to enjoy a makeover designed to establish it as a stand-alone brand with new packaging that gives greater focus to the ‘leaf’ logo in order to avoid the possibility of consumers confusing the brand with Gallo Family Vineyards and create better stand-out on the shelf.
We’ve changed the label

Iain Newell said: “The leaf is a key icon and we will use it as a key marketing vehicle going forward.”
…and might consider taking legal action against anyone else with a leaf on their label.

Gallo said that wine quality across the Turning Leaf portfolio has improved significantly for the latest vintage, thanks to significant investment in its winery infrastructure as well as increased focus on its vineyards.
Previous vintages haven’t been up to much.

The moves are part of Gallo’s overall 2009 strategy to drive “conversion” at point of sale in both the on- and off-trade.
We want to sell more wine.

Why can’t marketing people speak normal language? Here‘s a post about what it would be nice to see in a press release…

Categorised in: Uncategorized


  • Ben Smith says:

    Very funny and sadly true Simon.
    Have you seen this one? I saw the original answer from Obama and was really struck by how inarticulate he suddenly became!

  • Larry Chandler says:

    How does this differ from any other industry? Each industry has it’s own jargon and puts a spin on whatever it is they are saying. In fact, marketing is spin.

    This is not an indication of bad wine marketing. And if it helps sell the wine, it’s good marketing.

    People buy brands. And brands are more than just labels. Cars advertise to men in exactly the same way. So do many food products. Beer. Watch any sporting event on TV.

  • Simon says:

    It doesn’t differ from other industries Larry, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. I know people buy brands, but unfortunately they tend to buy the loudest rather than the best brands.

    PS for those reading these comments, have a look at Larry’s site – mainly US-focussed, but with a lot to say to other markets.

  • Enrico says:

    Simon: excellent review! Absolutely spot-on on loudest rather than best, but only in terms of perceived product quality. In terms of marketing, Larry has a point: if it works, then the marketing-man has done a good job. Then again, reading through your analysis, it appears to me that what you’ve found is addressed to share-holders and key-multiples buyers and financial analysts. The average drinker wouldn’t even bother reading all this mumbo-jumbo. If I may, the message I read when presented the bits you describe, it looks like:
    “Listen mate, them Redwood Creek plonkers made us a few bobs over the pond. We’ll give it a shot here and, since you have a strong hunting lobby and given that to save on costs we don’t quite filter them correctly, we’ll say some bollocks to turn its mediocrity into a quality aspect…” It works like the communication campaign that convinced the US to elect GW Bush TWICE, a move from bad thinking into masochism… The New Leaf repackaging it’s in line with the Botox culture: let’s focus on the exterior ’cause there ain’t much to say about the content.
    About Impulse Channel: until about 10 years ago, impulse buying was a customer trait, not a distribution channel. Anything you found arriving at the supermarkets check-out (chewing-gums, sweets, batteries, etc.) was placed there and in such manner to push people to buy it. Children, for instance, will, 99% of the time, arrive at the till and suddenly go slightly berserk, asking for all sorts of sweets… I didn’t know that rough, forest dwelling 35-65 year-olds, could have similar reactions at the sight of a specific wine bottle. Given that most wine drinkers in this age bracket, in the UK, are past the Blue Nun and Claret stage, and regularly read something about wines (Andrew Jefford, Jancis Robinson, etc.), I think it unlikely that current US wine-marketing models will attract drinkers in the large numbers expected… unless, all of a sudden and contrary to popular culture, they’ve all been turned into thoughtless, tasteless automats… and your reaction to their written words it’s proof that it hasn’t happened yet!
    Thus, thanks very much Simon!!!

  • Winer says:

    What this sadly underscores, Simon, is that in the wine biz, much more financial effort is put on finding, hooking, snaring and hoodwinking customers into purchasing than is put into making the best possible juice at the best possible price points. We have the same problem in the US, where mediocre grocery store brands taste obnoxiously sweet, thick and without any true varietal or “terroir” character, but are the most popular “BRANDS” because of sophisticated marketing efforts. The average consumer in the US doesn’t even know what a really good wine tastes like because they buy wine like they buy soap or toilet paper: based on marketing, advertising and packaging. It is very frustrating for me and everyone who is trying to find (and drink) great juice. If only Gallo with all their financial clout would start trying to make EXCELLENT wine instead of spending all the money on marketing we would all benefit…..

  • winey brett says:

    Good old marketing speak. I remember well the snake oil sellers – just bamboozle the public. Unfortunately this marketing hyperbole is aimed at the trade. Some of us know better than to listen, but…
    I did enjoy your paraphrasing!

  • Simon says:

    Hi Winer, I’ve had some decent wines from Gallo in the past (some of the Sonoma stuff for example), but they do let themselves down by the constant rebranding jiggery-pokery at the lower end of the scale. Most of my friends are not wine nerds, and I’d love to be able to tell them to go and buy a bottle made by Winery X as it delivers great bang for the buck. But my list for wineries that currently deliver across the range is brief – top of my head, Paul Mas (Languedoc), Concha y Toro (Chile), Montana (NZ), Jacob’s Creek (Aus), Catena/Argento (Argentina). A struggle to think of other things that are consistent everyday drinking. The Aussies used to excel at this level, but they’ve let standards slip in the last ten years.

  • Bill Eyer says:

    Simon say’s, is that in the wine biz, much more financial effort is put on finding, hooking, snaring and hoodwinking customers into purchasing than is put into making the best possible juice at the best possible price points.”

    Exactly! That is what QPR is all about in my book! So Gallo you should do what Simon Say’s, stop with marketing plonk and start making some serious wine which will market itself!

  • Simon says:

    Bill, it would be great if wine marketed itself, but it doesn’t (although the French haven’t noticed this). For me a good combination is someone walking the walk and talking the talk.

  • Anonymous says:

    Sad but true. there are oceans full of reasonably good wines. And those are the wines most people drink.

    You need a lot of bamboozeling to get someone to buy a specific wine from a range going from the Côtes du Rhône to the hills outside Melbourne… And preferably not costing more than what goes out to bottles, corks and caps, labels and duties…



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