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IMPACT Seminar Snapshot: The Wine Group’s Dubiel And Diageo’s Saller On Marketing To Millennials

March 28, 2013

As a growing number of young LDA consumers continue to enter the drinks market, wine and spirits companies are adapting their marketing strategies to appeal to the highly sought-after millennial demographic. During last week’s Impact Marketing Seminar, Jeff Dubiel, chief marketing officer for The Wine Group’s Underdog Wine Merchants unit, showcased the millennial-friendly approaches that have benefited the company’s Franzia and Cupcake labels, among others.

In Dubiel’s view, brands must be willing to reinvent themselves for each new generation. He emphasized the importance of “creative destruction,” citing Franzia’s departure from the “large-size glass bottle” format to bag-in-box, a prescient move that helped it grow to become the world’s top-selling wine brand.

Cupcake, meanwhile, has been one of the most successful wine brands to date at marketing to millennials. “Cupcake has an emotional connection to consumers,” Dubiel explained, adding that the rise of digital, mobile and social communication among millennials has been key to the brand’s success. “As marketers, we need to ignite consumer networks, and then get out of the way. That’s where the big opportunity is—in allowing consumers to market to each other.”

Dubiel was followed by Syl Saller, global innovation director for Diageo plc. Saller began by asserting that a new era of marketing is at hand, in which nice packaging, quality liquid and activations are no longer enough to succeed. Instead, she emphasized the renewed importance of appealing to consumers at gut-level through strong visual components and beauty. “Beauty bypasses logic and connects to our emotions,” said Saller. “Because there are just too many brand choices to sort through logically, consumers are led by emotion.”

As a result, said Saller, Diageo has focused on harnessing the power of beauty with a range of marketing initiatives. These include the creation of a visual brand experience with its Johnnie Walker House in Shanghai, which Saller says helped grow “super-deluxe” sales of the brand by 60% in China. Johnnie Walker has since opened a second outpost in Beijing. “We sell dreams, lifestyles and aspirations,” she said. “The industry needs to focus on creating beautiful stores for aspirational products.”

 

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