Craft without conviction

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January 26, 2018

by Jeremy Taylor



In this article, Jeremy Taylor examines two new contenders from the world of wine, and questions if they represent a missed opportunity.


Beer, Wine and Spirits represent one of the most dynamic areas of grocery. Craft Beer, for example, has exponentially enshrouded traditional global brands; displacing a number of long-standing lines, due to their higher value delivery, in some of the biggest category re-organizations to date. Across both the cider & premix categories we’ve also seen a similar pattern of brand & line proliferation.


This large-scale proliferation and fragmentation boils down to three key consumer trends: a demand for experimentation, personalization & convenience.


Image result for mad dog and englishman tempranilloIt’s not just about taste delivery (though this is a vital component). Consumers are increasingly looking for products that are beautifully packaged, emotionally satisfying & capable of representing them as a lifestyle marker (#Instagram)

And so it is with heightened interest that we look to some new products moving the goalposts in wine: in Asda, ‘Mad Dog & Englishman’ offer a 4x25cl Tempranillo & Sauvignon Blanc and in Tesco, ‘Craft & Origin’ 50cl serve up Shiraz & Sauvignon Blanc.

The contenders line up against aforementioned consumer trends – convenient formats that mimic what consumers are used to from craft beer & cider (or indeed miniatures in wine); individualistic appeal from the more distinctive way of drinking wine. 

However, it is our suggestion that neither proposition is doing enough to stand up as genuine, confident and credible.

The design is unlikely to cut through on shelf. It’s not particularly eye-catching and very unclear as to the contents – you have to look quite closely to discover it’s actually wine! Furthermore, the branding fails to communicate anything about a taste profile – not least an experimental taste profile. Though Craft & Origin speak of being ‘craft’, it becomes clear that this relates solely to the grapes being ‘hand-picked’.

Image result for craft and origin wineAgainst a backdrop of increased marketing savviness among consumers, we are totally aligned to the notion that innovation must discover its true authenticity. As far as we're concerned, that can only be delivered if the proposition is signalling the same message across brand, pack and product – prioritizing well-chosen functional and emotional characteristics at key moments across the consumer journey, from communications to well-engineered sensory attributes.

With everything we know about Millennials and their effect on the wider population, we can say with conviction that people want innovation to be braver and bolder. But if you’re going to try something new, brands must do it with more conviction than these two contenders. Making a clearer statement of intent and then supporting it in a way that feels seamless.

That said, this is the start of something we feel will only get bigger. Wine is losing occasions to other beverages (not least, non-alcoholic), so we can at least praise these efforts for moving things on a bit.

Jeremy Taylor is Research Manager at MMR