Vernissage's handbag wine box is a PR winner
Date of webcast: 17 September 2012 10:10 GMT
The world of wine isn’t generally known for producing brilliant PR. Certainly not PR stunts.
And there are very good strategic reasons for that.
Because wine brands can’t generally behave the way of others in their PR. They generally have to be terribly serious – sometimes bordering on the pompous and sometimes bordering on the tedious.
Generally, that’s because people who buy a wine for the first time don’t actually know what the product in the bottle tastes like. Absolutely no clue. They have a rough notion – based on the way that the label looks, the price, the grape it’s made out of. But in all honesty, they’re taking it on faith.
That faith is made up of a belief in the retailer (the hope that the shop owner won’t have put crap on their shelves) and faith in the brand (that it hasn’t produced a bottle of wine that tastes revolting).
And the need to cultivate that faith means that wine brands play it safe.
Which is why it was refreshing to see the handbag wine box get such cracking coverage on these shores (although it has been cleaning-up globally, as this clip implies) …
Now you may be thinking “yeah, but it’s wine in a box, it has a pretty low level of consumer trust, so they can afford to take the piss out of themselves just a wee bit more than, say, a French Chateau, where quality sort of goes with the territory”.
And, of course, you’d be completely wrong.
If you play in the boxed wine category, you need to play the quality card even harder than your castle-dwelling competition. Because you have to convince a consumer who has low expectations that your product is actually not as shit as they think it will be.
So seeing a wine brand – in this case a wine brand known as Vernissage – creating a PR plan that has got the world’s media talking focussed solely on a “handbag wine box” (in essence no different to any other wine box other than that it’s in a trapezoid-shaped box with a bit of string across the top) is genius.
What’s more, Vernissage has pulled off that brilliant PR trick: taking a lateral step (and one that looks so simple when you see it) creative idea and push outwards towards the stuntish while at the same time delivering some serious messages about the brand.
The ridiculousness of the story is what got people talking in the first place. But when you read the editorial (such as this from the Daily Mail), you realise that they’ve managed to bang home some serious brand messages they would never otherwise have had the opportunity to get across.
That, for my money, is what takes a stunt from the clever to the downright brilliant.
One that hooks the media in with an idea their readers will smile at before beating those same readers over the head with line after line of the kind of editorial copy containing the very messages the brand really wanted to get across.
James Gordon-MacIntosh is a managing partner at Hope&Glory PR and occasionally pens things on Spinning Around, a blog that he describes as “thinking out loud”. He hasn’t been thinking much lately.
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