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…


3 comments on “Really? This was your thinking?

  1. I agree with you Kate. There’s enough negativity and haters already, no need to perpetuate it regardless of the ’cause’. A cheeky but ultimately negative campaign it seems.

  2. Brett says:

    well said Kate. It will be interesting to see if it plays out as more than a gimmick. Its bold campaign though which is good to see in wine (which is often pretty boring on the marketing side of things).

    • I think it actually has potential, but the tone used has turned something which could have been smart into something rather nasty. And I can’t imagine that handling the logistics of such a campaign would be terribly easy.

      Wait and see, I guess!


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