Really? This was your thinking?

So, the brilliant marketing minds strike again. With a programme that failed the first time, and smacks of nastiness.

One of the big boys – no real secret, but just for civility’s sake, I will keep names out of this – has a special campaign for Australia Day, called, of all things, a ‘Bad Taste Amnesty’.

The deal is, bring in a bottle of wine you don’t like, to one of the chains, and exchange it for a bottle of one of the (large) producer’s brands. One with quite a good reputation, all things considered, and wines which are pretty ok for the money, if broadly commercial in style.

Reasons I find this distasteful are many: as a big player in the market, using the term ‘Bad Taste’ to refer to your competitors’ – and in all likelihood, some of your own – wines is just mean-spirited. We actively work in the wine industry to promote our businesses as being cooperative, likeable, and generally nice to one another. We raise our industry up, and make it better for being lovers of wine, and loving to talk about it. ‘Bad’ is a word rarely used.

Asking people to actively find a ‘bad’ wine to trade in? Well, you are almost asking them to go and find the cheapest cleanskin at said store, buy it whether they have tried it or not, and hand it over in the hope of getting something better in their mitts. Despite never having tried it. It may have been the buy of the century… But the consumer will never know.

And what happens to the ‘traded-in’ wine? Can someone please answer me that? If it is a wine stocked by the store, do they have the right to resell it? Or does the producer now own that wine? If so, what are they doing with it? If smart, they will use it as market research, nothing more.

In the press release, the terms ‘bad’, ‘inferior’ and ‘wine crimes’ are used. As one of the big players, maybe they should show some humility. It is definitely a better fit for their corporate image.

Further, the brand used to be the ‘better’ wine starts to smell a little of these whole proceedings. A good brand. Smart labelling. Vino is ok – although, I have tried no current release. It is commonly identified as being decent wine by the consumer. And the genius marketing team wishes to tie it to a promotion based purely around negativity? All that negativity cannot be drowned out by what could have been a reasonably smart idea, if handled with a little bit more humility and style.

Given the social media outcry over some recent activities played out very publicly by this company – for better or worse – one would have thought that the marketing department might have thought a little smarter. Particularly considering that this campaign has already been run, a number of years ago, and it failed then. Some called it a flop, others mentioned it being impossible to execute successfully. So they are trying again.

Do I have to keep saying this? Be smarter. Play nice. Just because you own much of the wine market in this country does not give you licence to behave like a playground bully.

Because that is what this looks like. And no-one likes a bully.

Having said that, there are places and people with whom this will likely work. But they as consumers are not brand builders. They are deal-seekers. Failing to identify that is an issue. Assuming a bullying tone is a disaster. Particularly in a world where social media often dictates the success or other of marketing campaigns.

This whole thing makes thing makes the hackles raise on the back of my neck. And not in a good way.

You know what my favourite marketing campaign is? Great wine…

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Confessional

Oh damn. So I guess I am leaving this up… Colour me terrified.

This is the year wherein I try to remember how to be a human being again. Rather than just a worker bee…

Don’t get me wrong – I love my work. I love the people, the wines, the land and I am particularly proud of what I have accomplished thus far. But, somewhere along the way, I managed to convince myself that my work is my world, and that I am happiest alone, with a glass of something great in hand.

But a glass rapidly becomes a bottle, and knocking off a bottle solo most nights becomes the norm. Solo being the key word. And I may well continue to do so some nights. But this year?

This year, I would like to remember where I put my life.

Acting as a reference for me, a friendĀ  (I later discovered) told prospective employers the following:
“She is perfect for the role. And she will work above and beyond for you. You will just need to make sure she takes some time off. Because she will work every hour of the day if there is work to be done.”

The nearly four years I worked for this friend I took one day off for a funeral. He may have had a point. He also told me earlier this year that I was turning out to be a much better version of me with my current career and lifestyle choices. So, yay me. I think.

Except for now. I realised when I went to the gym on the 27th, they were the first people I had seen – apart from vague figures in the beach – since the 23rd.

And here I am with no plans for the next four days.

My social network is a little spread out. In the last twelve years, I have lived in Perth, Margaret River, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. And making friends in new cities does not get any easier. I am probably a wee bit more shy than most of you would suspect. I get nervous going out. I hang at the edges, generally. Yeah – that’sĀ  me, sitting to the side, probably playing with my phone.

It just seems like such an effort these days, and I wasn’t even good at this at school. Work is different. I am expected, people know why I am there. There is a purpose. That is just my role, and is relatively easily played. Socially? Different story.

And a few of you know that I have a raft of medical issues, including a debilitating nerve disorder which comes out of nowhere, and cannot be treated, only eased with copious quantities of opiates. And – at risk of sounding like I am complaining – it doesn’t make navigating the social world any easier when it hits out of the blue whilst trying to make small talk.

But I don’t care any more. I want to go out, see music, watch plays and meet people. All people. At risk of kissing of few frogs, (not literally!) I am putting myself back out into the world, and leaving my isolated little enclave, just to make some new connections. Not every day. But some. I cannot continue to rely on twitter and Facebook to be my social world. And I occasionally forget that there are real people at the other end of those avatars and handles.

So maybe a reminder from you lot would be helpful. Tell me to go home when I am clearly working too late. Join me for a drink when plans fall through in a random city. Remind me to be human again.

So, this is me. Dipping a toe into the world.

As my ex left on the 23rd, he asked me what I would do to be different this year. And so this is it. Still working as hard as I can to get the best possible outcome for my business. Still drinking, tweeting and ranting against the stupidity of the world. Still being me, on my high horse. Just going out to meet a little bit more of the world.

Maybe I will meet up with you…

So thanks to the group I had a few random drinks with a couple of nights ago on the veranda of a pub in Clare. Thanks for wanting to get to know me, telling me about yourselves, and inviting me over any time I might need a quick kip during vintage. Thanks for making me want to venture out a bit more.

So, self -absorbed introspection over. I promise. The rants shall return shortly…