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Shelf Life with Louise Marsland: selling SA wine in the States

Date posted: February 7, 2013

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Louise Marsland’s (@Louise_Marsland) pick of new product, packaging and design launches.

Marketing SA wines in the US is not a picnic, Top Shop provides a window on new fashions, another ‘BlackBerry’ launch, and we find out which is the most desirable tablet is in South Africa…

Indaba Wines refresh

Indaba carton with Chardonnay lowres

Indaba Range lowres

South Africa’s Indaba Wines has undergone a fundamental image transformation to embrace its African roots and reflect the reality of wines which come from ‘A beautiful place where beautiful things grow’.

The United States has its own robust wine industry and is ultra-competitive. Despite Indaba’s 15 year success in the US, Cape Classics felt the packaging did not reflect the quality of its wine.

“To significantly increase market share of Indaba, we had to start from scratch,” says Robert Bradshaw, Cape Classics president.

The new design reflects the rich diversity of the Western Cape’s floral beauty and also draws on the region’s commitment to recycling and sustainability with its choice of a plain craft carton free of colour or varnish.

“The colour choices for each varietal are based on what you see in the Cape – the slightly muted hues, the way the light falls on the mountains, that sun-faded affect caused by the strength of the African sun, were all taken into consideration,” explains Molly Choi, marketing and sales executive vice-president for Cape Classics.

Choi told MarkLives that it is incredibly challenging to market SA wines in the US as there is a real lack of brand identity for South Africa in general. “Any positive associations are very limited and there’s nothing for a consumer to really ‘bond’ with as with other wine producing regions in the world. It is not unusual to find SA wines in the back of a shop, on the bottom shelves between Greece and Kosher selections. And on a wine list, you typically wouldn’t find more than a handful of options.”

Choi says they focus instead on the wines themselves being delicious and less on the region where they’re from.

That said, South African wine imports are up in the US and they’re experience growth across all the SA wine brands they represent.

“Indaba is one of South Africa’s leading brands in the US market, with presence in major retailers, including Whole Foods, Wegmans and Costco; and national on-premise accounts including Capital Grille, Seasons 52 and Fleming’s.The brand (is) widely recognised by the trade and consumers for its quality and value,”Choi adds.

In the last five years the Indaba brand has experienced an overall growth rate of over 86%.

Cape Classics was founded in 1992 in New York City by South African born Andre Shearer and also represents Kanonkop, Buitenverwachting, De Toren and Thelema wines in the USA.

Tablet boom

iPad

It shouldn’t be a surprise that one of the most desirable products in South Africa is a tablet.

What is interesting is that the tablet boom over this past festive season – has led to an online shopping boom globally – not just in South Africa.

Tablets came second only to the gobii eReader  as the highest selling device  on kalahari.com. The Google Nexus 7 beat the Apple iPad on Kalahari.com as the favourite among customers, followed by other entry level tablets like the Coby and Prestigio 7 inch tablets.

Tablets in the local tech market  have grown from claiming 18%  of the webbook and mobile PC market, to a 26% share from February  2012 to March 2012 (GfK).

And Kalahari found that 73.4% of tablet owners said that they were already  using the devices to shop online and it is expected that the growing demand for mobile tablet devices will fuel an online shopping or T-commerce boom globally.

A tasty BlackBerry launch…

Liqui Fruit Blackberry pack shot

Capitalising on the hype surrounding the launch of the new BlackBerry 10 smartphone globally and the rebrand of RIM to BlackBerry, Liqui Fruit produced a limited edition BlackBerry flavour in a pack that is designed to look a bit like a mobile phone.

The “on-the-go 250ml Liqui Fruit BlackBerry handset” will be available from convenience stores until June 2013.

“To kick off 2013 we wanted to connect our consumers to our new Liqui-Fruit Limited Edition Blackberry, in true‘the power is in the juice’ style. Its status:  100% fruit juice, high in vitamin C, with no added preservatives,” explains brand manager Karen Veysey.

There’s also a competition to go with the launch of the new variant and pack – a chance to win 10 BlackBerry smartphones in posters that play off Vodacom, MTN and Cell C brand advertising, with “BlackBerry 4 U” and “Ayoberry” taglines and a Vit© brand. Cute.

A fashionable window

Top Shop window

Given just 10 days before the launch of the first Top Shop in South Africa, Clarion Printed Products met tight branding deadlines to dress the windows of the high profile store in Sandton City, as well as produce the store’s full range of retail point of sale materials.

The in store requirements varied from mat vinyls and textured wallpaper, to backlit polyesters and non-curl PVC banners for the 950 sq m store, which opened late last year.

Louise Marsland– Shelf Life by Louise Marsland is a weekly column on MarkLives. Tweet new product, packaging and design launches to @louise_marsland.

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Louise Marsland has written about the FMCG, media, marketing and advertising industry for 18 years of her 25 year media career as a former Editor of magazines AdVantageMarketing Mix and Progressive Retailing; as well as websites Bizcommunity.com and FMCGFilesShe currently edits the weekly Wednesday Media & Marketing Page for The New Age newspaper; and is the co-founder and Publishing Editor of SA’s newly launched industry trendwatching portal, TREND. at www.trendlives.info, in partnership with MarkLives.com.

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