Tom Wark’s Fermentation blog recently suggested that the wine industry increase its appeal by doing national advertising with a pitchman like well-regarded actor George Clooney. The key elements of Wark’s proposed strategy are,
1. Every sector of the wine industry would need to pitch in (wineries, retailers, importers, wholesalers)
2. No region and no variety and no country should be highlighted
3. The TV creative must translate seamlessly into a print and on-line campaign.
The first two parts of that would seem to be potential blockers – getting everyone in the diverse wine industry to sign on would be a real challenge.
This provocative post got me thinking, though – would it be possible to launch a similar, smaller scale campaign to boost acceptance of box wines? The challenge that winemakers who would like to sell their wine in boxes face is that, at least in the US, the packaging was stigmatized by its early adopters. The first wines sold in boxes were very cheap products, 5 liters in size, intended for college students and low-end entertaining. Even today, those early box wines taint the entire segment.
It seems to me that makers of boxed wines MIGHT be able to come together out of common interest. They might not be able to afford George Clooney, but a campaign aimed at repositioning box wine could go a long way toward increasing consumer appeal. We know that there are some distinct advantages to box packaging – minimum space, long shelf life even after opening, cost, and convenience. A campaign focused on presenting these advantages AND making the idea of pouring wine from a box more appealing could work, I think.
I don’t think that a few TV commercials or print ads will make box wines the height of elegance, nor should they attempt to. Rather, they should focus on repositioning box wines from “cheap junk” to “drinkable, festive, practical, and good value.” And instead of a George Clooney, perhaps a cooking show star like an “Iron Chef” or similar could reduce the fear that anything from a box is automatically plonk.
What do you think? Could the diverse group of box wine makers come together for something like this? And could the American consumer be persuaded?