Thursday, June 19, 2008

French Wines Kick Up Their Advertising Heels

French wines are taking things up a notch (or two or three) with a new promotional campaign in the U.S. Calling it an "ambitious" three year marketing blitz, the "Wines of France" are hoping to "boost gains" and "build consumers' knowledge of French wines." The umbrella campaign will see an increased annual spend of $2.6 million for 2008 and cover all avenues of promotion.

Wines of France says it will launch "an aggressive sales promotion campaign" across the U.S., but focus mainly on the key markets of New York metro, Washington DC metro, South Florida, California, Illinois, Texas and Massachusetts. This will include tastings in both the on- and off-premise, as well as a host of promotional materials for all stores backed by French music.

The promotional campaign will be accompanied by a new website, that went live earlier this week. It's aimed at educating Americans about grape varietals and French wine regions, in addition to featuring interviews and a "Question of the Week." Wines of France spokesperson Sheri Sauter Morano, Master of Wine, will also choose "My Top French Wine Picks," which features wines that fall in the $8 and $25 range.

It's no secret that French wines have struggled in recent years as U.S. consumers (among others) have increasingly opted for cheaper, easier to read labels. Earlier this month France approved a five-year plan to modernize its wine industry and help it better compete internationally. The most controversial initiative was a proposal to create three categories of French wines. A new mid-quality category, called the "Wines of France," most closely mirrors New World wines by including the grape varietal on the label (instead of grape origin) and using cheaper production practices, such as adding wood chips and tannins.

Recall that the EU recently passed a new wine system to cut down production and help European wines better compete internationally as well.

Wine & Spirits Daily