Following the very sad announcement today that the much loved and highly respected Hazel Murphy has died of cancer we pay tribute to the impact she had on the wine industry around the world, particularly during her time at Australian Wine Bureau in the 1990’s, when she did so much to promote and support what was then still an emerging wine country. So much so that Rosamund Barton of wine PR agency, R&R Teamwork, chose the work she did to take leading UK wine figures to Australia as the best campaign she has seen during her career in wine.
R&R Teamwork’s Rosamund Barton paid this tribute to Hazel Murphy a couple of years ago when she was asked to name the best wine PR campaign she has seen in the trade. We are pleased to be able to re-publish it in memory of Hazel.
The campaign I wish I had done…
Explain the campaign and who it was for?
Australia – Wine Flight of a Lifetime’ 1992
Hazel Murphy was the queen of the Australian Wine Bureau. She wanted to make the UK wine trade understand Australia, but realised that it was hard to do in a cold and wet UK. So, to create ambassadors for Australian wines, and to let the UK wine trade understand the breadth of the wine offer from its many regions, Hazel convinced the wineries, the importers and the press to create ‘Wine Flight of a Life Time’.
She bravely took 110 diverse members of the UK press and trade on a two-week working holiday to visit many wine growing areas in Australia including the Clare Valley, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Hunter Valley, Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula.
What is it about this campaign that you particularly liked:
Before ‘Wine Flight of a Lifetime’, trade and media had been kept apart; and the animal togetherness which the trip fostered had never happened. This trip changed that forever.
Why do you think it was successful?
This was a first and cleverly Hazel got the trade to pay towards their flights so any buyer on the trip was hugely committed. Press were made to work hard. Bus A was headed up by Tim Atkin MW, Bus B by Oz Clarke and Bus C by Robert Joseph. It was also successful because those who had not been part of it felt jealous; and because it was such an excitingly disparate group of trippers, tasting Australia’s wines in Australia surrounded by Australians.
What lessons could other businesses/take from this idea?
This campaign included hard work, loads of travelling and an overview of the Australian wine industry that had never been seen before. Those on the trip became firm friends, though two buyers could not take the pace and dropped out briefly. Excitingly, they had one elopement from it!
Think big. Combine different interest groups. Have a theme. Have fun.
Tim Johnston, of Juveniles in Paris, fondly recalls a flight from Sydney to Perth. The captain came on at the beginning of the flight and said: “We are happy to welcome aboard all the Poms who have come to look at our wine industry. We’ve heard about your reputation and have put two passengers off the plane – so that we can get more grog on…”
Hazel carried on taking big trips and still to this day takes small trade trips to Australia, so this was so much more than one big splash. As she says herself: “I did a trip this year and one in 2015 for very small groups just to specific regions–so they are still going on a mini-scale and have a real impact on them buying!!”
- You can read the rest of Rosamund Barton’s article on running PR campaigns here.
Wine Australia Tribute to Hazel Murphy
Wine Australia has released its own tribute to Hazel Murphy which we publish in full below.
It is with deep and profound sadness that we report the death of Hazel Murphy AM in the UK on January 1 2020.
Hazel was a great friend to the Australian grape and wine sector as a whole and a very dear friend to many. She will be very deeply missed.
Hazel’s significant contribution to the Australian wine sector was recognised in 1996 when she was made a Member of the Order of Australia and received the Maurice O’Shea Award for outstanding contribution to the Australian wine industry.
For over 17 years, from 1985, Hazel was Chief Executive (Europe) of the Australian Wine Bureau, part of the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation (now Wine Australia).
With boundless energy and enthusiasm, Hazel’s ‘glass in the hand’ promotion contributed to Australian wine exports growing from $1.4 million in the 12 months to June 1985 to $897.1 million in calendar year 2002.
In A Life in Wine, James Halliday recalls Hazel thus: “In less than a decade she poured Australian wine for 250,000 people in venues ranging from food and wine exhibitions to sporting events… Pint-sized she may have been, but her energy and commitment were boundless…”
Wine Australia’s chief executive, Andreas Clark, said: “Hazel Murphy was an icon. She was a passionate, tireless advocate for Australian wine and a trailblazer for Australia wine exports to the UK and Europe. Our wine exports would not be where they are today where it not for Hazel. We will miss her.”
Wine Australia’s UK-based regional general manager EMEA, Laura Jewell MW, said: “I have known Hazel all my working life in wine and always admired her energy, verve and passion. I am very privileged to have followed in her footsteps and will always remember her as a friend and inspiration. She will be sorely missed both here in the UK and by all the wineries in Australia. She is an integral part of the history of Australian wine on the global stage.”
Former Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation chief executive, Sam Tolley, added: “Hazel’s originality and tenacious energy brought the English wine trade together behind the fledgling Australian wine presence in the UK during the early eighties. Winemakers could not have asked for a stronger champion with her inimitable powers of persuasion. Hazel was a “force majeure” and much loved by the very broad church of those who brought Australia to be the leading wine country in the UK. Hazel will be sadly missed.”