Wine Marketing Awards winners revealed

Marketing took centre stage at the third Drinks International wine awards in as many months, Holly Motion reports on the Wine Marketing Awards.

At the WSET Building on February 24 judges David Longfield, freelance; Richard Bampfield, wine educator and consultant; and Justin Smith, publisher Drinks International handed out the following accolades.  

Best Integrated Campaign 

Winner: Chapel Down

Chapel Down Wines’ Share the Passion crowdfunding campaign took Best Integrated Campaign in the closely fought category. The two judges – Bampfield declared a vested interest having worked with the brand and refrained from commenting on this category – applauded the innovative strategy combining advertising with crowdfunding. Share the Passion raised £3.95m in fewer than 24 days, making it the largest and fastest equity crowdfunding campaign. The company estimated it could have raised in excess of £10m within the 54 days allocated to the campaign had investment rules not prevented it. 

“It’s a new approach,” Longfield said. In addition to Chapel Down CEO Frazer Thompson’s 12-page testimonial, public endorsements were presented to the judges. Smith said: “I like the fact they have backed everything up with evidence.” 

The panel agreed that there could have been two winners but ultimately it was Chapel Down’s originality that swayed them. 

Highly Commended: Wines of Germany

Wines of Germany’s Summer of Riesling campaign was named highly commended. Its simple challenge – to raise consumer awareness of German Riesling, increase German Riesling market share, increase sales over £8 and get out of London – was “self-contained and very neat”, according to Longfield. The summer 2014 campaign had strong links to the trade and reached 6 million consumers through media channels and 80,000 consumers through social media channels. In terms of results, German Riesling market share increased by 2% in volume and 1% in value (Nielsen October 2014), sales over £8 increased by 32% and the campaign succeeded in getting out of London as it reached 25 towns and cities across the UK. 

Best Launch Campaign

Winner: Zonin Primo Amore 

Owner: Casa Vinicola Zonin/Family Zonin

Zonin’s Primo Amore launch campaign was a unanimous winner among the judges as it impressed with the level of research and detail in the entry. The 27-page submission was the culmination of the family-owned wine group’s two-year study into the Chinese market. 

Bampfield said: “I thought it looked really comprehensive.” 

The campaign was said to work well as a series or a range and managed to tap into Chinese interests while maintaining the Italian heritage. The strapline and unique selling proposition – ‘From the heart of Italy to the heart of China’ – was demonstrated across all its platforms and the merchandising was strong, according to the judges. 

Longfield said: “It raises some interesting questions and shows some interesting insight.”

The campaign hopes to monopolise on the market with the 19 million urban upper-middle class imported wine drinkers in China (IWSR 2012).

Best PR Campaign 

Winner: Tio Pepe’s Christmas Dinner Popcorn 

Phipps’ bold Christmas Dinner Popcorn campaign got young consumers drinking sherry. The campaign received 24 pieces of media coverage with a total reach of more than 46 million and took the title of Best PR Campaign. 

Longfield said the “brilliant” entry was “so engaging and far removed from what you would think”. 

Smith added: “If you have creativity, creativity is free.”

The small-scale piece of activation was commended for feeding into the media’s love of anything fun and quirky. 

Longfield said: “It shows a brand that is really confident. It is confident enough to step out of the box.” The festive-flavoured popcorns – created by artisan popcorn producer Pop – were introduced to consumers on a sherry and popcorn-matching menu across four UK bars (London, Cardiff, Leeds and Bournemouth).

Bampfield added: “It is well-conceived and done with a sense of fun.”

Phipps succeeded in getting the campaign on both the wine and lifestyle pages always ensuring Tio Pepe received name checks throughout. More than 400 consumers were taken with the Tio Pepe popcorn initiative with one publication covering the campaign three times.

Best Experiential Campaign

Winner: Wines of Chile

The category name might have taken a bit of explaining, but the winners were crystal clear. 

The top campaign needed to showcase a successful integrated wine marketing campaign and create a consistent brand message through marketing communication and different promotional methods. 

The Wines of Chile programme strategy was a simple one: inspire up-and-coming sommeliers about premium Chilean wine by challenging the status quo in an unconventional way. 

To do this the brand invited sommeliers to take centre stage and build a wine bar in New York that told the story about Chile and its premium wines. 

“It’s very ambitious and quite complex but I love the idea of creating ambassadors with sommeliers,” Bampfield said.

Four teams competed in Wine Bar War for a first class ticket to Chile. Each team had identical budgets to build their bars and were scored by expert judges and consumers. 

Smith added: “There were so many things that could have gone wrong but it is a good PR story.” 

Location was everything, according to Bampfield. “Sommeliers have a lot of street cred in New York.
I think it could have worked in the UK but the venue would have to be slightly different and it would have worked better as a cocktail concept.” 

Highly Commended: Wines of Germany

For its daring Wines of Chile beat Wines of Germany to the top honour,but the highly commended integrated campaign was
also named highly commended experiential campaign. 

Longfied said: “It’s a nice and fun campaign. It removes the slightly intimidating aspect of German wines and is sort of fun in a grown up way.” 

The Phipps Summer of Riesling was easy for consumers to understand and translated to figures. 

Best Wine PR Company 

Winner: Phipps

Phipps has 25 years experience in the drinks industry. The company has more Wine & Spirit Education Trust-educated and wine-qualified staff than any other PR team in the UK. 

“On the basis of its submission today it certainly deserved an award,” Bampfield said.

“Phipps reaches more broadly to the consumer and doesn’t just focus on the trade,” he added. 

The company has 12 retained drinks clients
and nine non-alcoholic drinks clients with a fee income of £825,000 and a 24% growth on previous year. 

“Even its entry submission is fun and quirky,” Smith said.