Campaign: Westbury puts rhythm into Argentine wine - Consumer PR

Campaign: Wines with Rhythm Client: Wines of Argentina PR team: Westbury Communications Timescale: March-December 2003 Budget: £212,000

Wines of Argentina, the trade body representing the country's 70-strong wineries, hired Westbury Communications to increase UK sales through a trade and consumer campaign.

The agency's consumer task was to raise awareness of the country as a wine producer and encourage New World wine-buyers to try Argentine produce.

Objectives

To reverse falling sales by boosting the presence of Argentine wines on shelves and bring in new trade buyers.

To create a positive image across all price ranges and encourage buyers to see Argentine wine as a 'must try'.

Strategy and Plan

The first step for Westbury was to convince the trade to back in-store promotional activity. The initial take-up was promising, with supermarkets and off licences Majestic and Unwins agreeing to participate in activity during the September campaign period.

To create the feel of a nationwide consumer campaign and spread the budget more effectively, Westbury targeted five key cities: London, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol. To generate local publicity, wine sampling and tango dancing was organised at key events, such as the Regent Street Festival in London and the Arts Fest in Birmingham.

The focus then turned to tying the wines in with the lifestyle appeal of Argentina. The most effective way to achieve this was by inviting ten journalists to visit the country's wineries.

Measurement and Evaluation

Media coverage was achieved across 25 nationals and 53 regional titles, as well as 50 consumer magazines, 12 regional radio stations and London Tonight. The Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror, The Independent and The Guardian ran articles, and there were features in Sunday papers such as The Sunday Times, the Mail on Sunday and The Sunday Telegraph.

Coverage also hit the Irish and Scottish nationals, including the Irish Times, Scotland on Sunday and Scottish Sunday Herald. In total, coverage reached an estimated 54 million consumers.

Results

To give a broader perspective, Westbury carried out qualitative research among the key buyers and agents for Argentine wines in the UK. Around 80 per cent of multiple buyers reported that sales were better than expected following the campaign and 100 per cent expected to see growth in Argentine wine sales in 2004.

The campaign gave samples to 21,500 consumers in the key cities and each regional event was supported by a media campaign.

Prior to sampling the wine, only 46 per cent of consumers said they had purchased Argentine wines before, whereas 98 per cent said they would purchase them in the future.

Freelance journalist Carole Doyle, who writes for a wide range of media, including the Irish Times and The Sunday Telegraph, wrote seven articles about Argentina and its wine, stemming from the press trip to Argentina.

She says that initially she went out with two commissions but because of the agency's work after the trip, she managed to get seven articles published.

'Westbury was so proactive,' Doyle tells PRWeek. 'I have never had a PR agency work with me as well as the way it did.'

The campaign also contributed to a 40 per cent increase of Argentine wine sales from the beginning of the year to the end of December, according to ACNielsen figures.

Volume market share rose from minus one per cent to a new high of two per cent for November and December 2003, making Argentina the fastest-growing wine producer to the end of 2003.

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