Constellation Brands asked a simple question. "Create a wine brand that targeted millennials". We did and it has gone on to be a commercial success for their business and a blueprint of how to launch a new wine brand. But it wasn't by accident....
Shoppers approach the wine purchase very conservatively. Typically they like the idea of adventure but in reality there is a shortlist of familiar brands that are chosen for their reliability and price point at the time.
Whilst one may assume that Millennials would be more adventurous, the opposite is true in the case of wine. Our insights showed that quality cues and on pack reassurance were paramount. At the same time, many millennials were entering the category from a period of spirits (think Absolut) and beer, plus they were extremely aesthetically led by fashion brands such as DKNY. The pack had to dial up fashion cues without breaking the fragile category stretch of quality - which is where many wine brands had failed in the past when trying to target this market..
VNO was developed from a blank sheet of paper, sold into the trade and on sale in store in just 4 months.
We created an iconic pack that immediately resonated with Millennials without 'trying too hard' to be cool. This was rigorously tested in research against other packaging concepts and current wine brands.
This led to a name change from our initial concept but crucially gave us the confidence that in terms of brand design and positioning, we had hit the mark. This in turn allowed us to create an engaging video for our client to help sell into retail, complete with attitudes and purchase intention figures that were impressive.
When it came to activation, we knew we couldn't just act like a typical traditional wine brand. We created surreal, fashion inspired images around our brand positioning of 'Relaxation'. This included street posters and tying in with New Zealand Music.
CREATING THE BRAND
We were inspired by this open note to the wine industry by a Millennial.
Clearly we had to approach this differently to the category norms.
Our research showed us that Millennials are always 'on' - with the traditional work/life balance not having any real meaning. There certainly isn't a deciding line between the two.
Interestingly though, the Millennials told us that they valued time away from the grind and wish they had more of it, despite their lifestyle and technology offering resistance to that notion.
In harmony to this consumer insight is that wine as a product is all about time off, unlike beer and spirits which are more 'getting on it'.
For this reason, we created a positioning for VNO as the wine for millennials to unwind with, with the headline of 'Make Relaxation a Ritual'.
The brand development went through a rigorous testing process with consumers, including name changes and bottle shapes.
Initial shelf appeal is much more important for millennials than older generations, however the likelihood to pick up and read the back label is lower than existing wine purchasers. Therefore we brought the taste profile to the front of the label, to help appeal to our Millennial shoppers behaviours of shortcutting shelf decisions.
We also developed the brand story so that we weren't an old buddy buddy winemaker standing in a field talking to Millennials. Instead we had a 30 year old winemaker who had travelled the world, learned their craft and had returned to New Zealand to bring modern tastes to modern palates. QR codes on the back label meant we were able to link to short videos of the winemaker talking about the wine in a contemporary way, a 1:1 communication that resonated with our shopper market.
We needed to be unconventional and appeal to the Millennial. Our mantra was and still is - if a traditional wine company would do it, why would we.
That's why we created a space for the brand that didn't try hard to be cooler - it just was. We placed our media in environments that hung out with like minded brands, as it is the company you keep that matters in this environment. This included music and style print publications & Street posters all backed up with a strong in store sampling campaign.
Finally, we launched the brand in conjunction with New Zealand Fashion week, sponsoring the Tate Music awards and beginning the association with the NZ Music Scene.