Welcome to the new Italy. This is what greets you when you go to the Bootleg Wine site. I'm partial to the Chianti DOCG-- which means Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, in case you were wondering, as many do. Hold that thought on the bottles; we'll get back to them.
There is a lot of talk lately about how traditional advertising, particularly the :30 TV commercial, is dead and how custom media is taking over. One of the pieces belonging to the marketing mix in a product company can hardly go away; product and package design.
I saw this article in Brand Week and could not help but smile. Let's take a look at some of the statements. "Today, consumers may have inspected your brand on the Internet first, and perhaps not at your company site." Not necessarily. Today consumers may notice a new brand on a shelf somewhere, as in the case for wine, or at a friend's party. And they might indeed have gone to your Web site to check out availability, pricing, etc. I did for this post.
As we've seen even in the crowded market space that is wine marketing, a new brand can stand out also on the strength of its packaging. Casella Wines created [yellow tail] using a strategy that allowed the wine to break away from the competition and create a new market for itself, as W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne write in Blue Ocean Strategy.
[yellow tail] was created as a social drink accessible to everyone, thus appealing to noncustomers of the traditional wine industry. How did they do it? They eliminated and reduced the anxiety of ordering wine on the part of non-connoisseurs and made new advocates of store staff in the process.
At the same time, they raised factors such as ease of drinking by introducing a product that was less complicated to the taste buds and ease of selection by producing only one Chardonnay (white) and one Shiraz (red) initially. This in turn created a feeling of fun and adventure people were willing to join in-- and that meant faster payback for the wine produced. By mid-2003, [yellow tail]'s moving average annual sales were tracking at 4.5 million cases.
Another statement in the article to think about is consumers "deliberately shield themselves from marketing." Well, were you anywhere near a Mall during the holidays? We may try to not watch advertising on certain media, however I do think that the language of advertising has permeated our culture. We are not immune to marketing messages. Otherwise, how do you explain the frantic buying, even during the after-Christmas sales? Do we really need all that stuff?
The prediction in the article that clean lines with less copy will dominate product-packaging design in the coming year may indeed continue to play out. David Turner of international design firm Turner Duckworth explains that "[...] pressure for (the disappearance of written copy is) to happen in Europe because of the multiple languages."
That's interesting, because although I know that what he means to say is that design can communicate information that may be more readily decoded in many cultures, I know he has probably noticed how clothing with English terms are very popular in non-English speaking countries and vice versa for other languages. We do like the exotic, with the mystery that comes with it.
Another aspect of packaging we're very receptive to is the sensual. Now go back and look at those bottles. Frosted-looking glass that is zipped up like a boot, hence suggesting the name, Bootleg --which hints at something obtained secretly -- and the shape of Italy, where the wine comes from. This was the brainchild of US wine importers Click Wine Group and Small Vineyards.
Small Vineyard states, "For the last 15 years or so, the amount of energy, passion, education, and investment that has gone into Italian wine making has been nothing short of miraculous." They dubbed this observation, Italian Renaissance II. I couldn't agree more. The genie is indeed outside the bottle.