Is a wine list really credible and going to be taken seriously if it does not have Côtes du Rhône wines on there? You would think not, but to help restaurants and wine merchants bring a new focus to their Côtes du Rhône range, the region’s generic body ran a promotional campaign in October calling on key operators to work with their suppliers to take on extra wines and do whatever they could to highlight the different styles of Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages be it through tastings, special events and their social media channels. Here’s how leading wine merchants, Tanners and the specialist Chelsea Creperie got behind the campaign.
Ask any consumer trends pundit for their big trends of 2018 and you can be pretty much guaranteed that looking for experiences and Instagram moments is very much what people are looking to do on a night out. Which was very much at the heart of Côtes du Rhône Guilty Pleasures campaign.
Wine, as we know, is often all you need to transport yourself off to a special place. Which was very much at the heart of the recent Côtes du Rhône’s on-trade marketing campaign, Guilty Pleasures, that looked to transform simple pleasures of everyday life into special, moments thanks to wine. And ideally Côtes du Rhône wine.
The campaign saw a number of leading restaurants and wine merchants join in so that they could do their part in helping to promote and highlight Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages wines to their customers. They were provided with a range of point of sale and promotional materials to help them, be it through hosting their own tastings, dinners or events. With the focus being on quality wines that are affordable, and won’t break the bank.
The campaign was also backed by significant above the line and social media activity, with Côtes du Rhône’s own dedicated Guilty Pleasures website, and advertising in the consumer press, including a link-up with Foodism magazine, and a series of radio interviews with wine writer, Matt Walls. All together the campaign reached over 5 million consumers and wine trade professionals.
Here we look at how two very different operators covering both the on-trade and off-trade got behind the campaign.
Christina Albon, marketing manager for Tanners Wine Merchants
Why did you take part in the Côtes du Rhône promotion?
It was the ideal time for us as we had already planned a Rhône promo for similar dates prior to hearing from Côtes du Rhône. The activity sounded fun and interesting so we were keen to been involved and utilise the extra publicity and POS the campaign brings.
What did you do as part of the promotion and why do you think that approach works best?
We commissioned a batch of Tanners Rhône Valley Red Fudge to be made by a local fudge shop. We turned the back room of our A Taste of Tanners Branch into the Rhône Room, which was kitted out with all things Rhône. The theme was Guilty Pleasures and for us fudge is an indulgent guilty pleasure. Customers were offered tastes of this along with the promotional wines in the Rhône Room.
Do you often take part in promotions? If so what sort of criteria do you use to determine which ones you like to follow?
Historically we haven’t taken part in that many promotions, however, we are looking to, providing they are well run and interesting. For us to be involved we like there to be a talking point and a point of interest. If its just an offer of free POS there’s very little to be gained. We like the promotions to be garnering national or local press and active on social media.
How are Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages sales normally in the business?
What are consumers understanding of the region and wines?
We have a real mix of customers – some very knowledgeable, others who are just starting out on their wine journey and are looking for help and expertise from the team.
How do you think Côtes du Rhône could help their image and profile in the UK?
Côtes du Rhône is one of the few regions I regularly see a strong marketing presence from and I usually find their campaigns interesting and engaging. I wonder if they need to do some activity around their grape varieties. Not all of them but perhaps a focus on Syrah and Grenache.
What impact did the promotion have on your sales of Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages wines?
There was definitely more interest in them and we did see an increase in sales, particularly the reds.
Daria Simanovich, co-owner Chelsea Creperie
Why did you take part in the Côtes du Rhône promotion?
Our team loves Côtes du Rhône wines. My husband, Francois Popon, is from the Rhône region and we wanted to help to promote these wines to our customers.
What did you do as part of the promotion and what do you think worked best?
We organised a few get togethers to help celebrate not only the promotion, but it also coincided with our first year anniversary of opening the restaurant – which was on October 25 . We were then able to offer a wine tasting to our customers of Côtes du Rhône wines from our list.
We also organised another event during October for mothers who are interested in teaching kids mathematical games. We were able to offer a Côtes du Rhône wine tasting as a part of the same event.
Do you often take part in other promotions?
We are only one year old, so this was actually the first promotion of this type that we have got involved in.
How are Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Villages wine sales normally in the business?
We only have wines from the Rhône region on our list. As that is what my husband was keen to do in order to showcase where he is from, his roots if you like. The Côtes du Rhône wine always sell well.
What are your consumers understanding of the Côtes du Rhône region and its wines?
We have lots of French customers at the Chelsea Creperie, so they know their wines, particularly those from the Côtes du Rhône.
How do you think Côtes du Rhône could help its image and profile in the UK?
I would recommend them doing more wine tastings as they prove to be so popular.
How many suppliers do you work with?
We work with two: Boutinot and Impex. Boutinot is the only one which supplies us Croze Hermitage wines. It’s the area from where grapes grown by my husband are used for making wine.
What are the biggest challenges facing your business?
Staff going to travel or back to France
What are the biggest opportunities?
There are not enough creperies in London. There is lots of potential for us to grow.
- If you would like to find out more about Côtes du Rhône region and how the Guilty Pleasures campaign was run then go to its website here.