Louise Marsland (@Louise_Marsland)’s weekly pick of recent product, packaging and design launches:

  • Robertsons adds fizz to a Sauvignon Blanc launch
  • Webtickets and Pick n Pay partner
  • Russian Bear’s new festive season launch, and
  • Rooibos capitalises on geographic protection

Robertson sparkles for summer

Robertson Winery Lightly Sparkling Sauvignon BlancA new lightly sparkling Sauvignon Blanc was launched this week by the Robertson Winery, just in time for the holidays and summer evenings. It marks a “new style of wine” by Robertson, which combines a light white wine with a slight fizz.

“It is a Lightly Sparkling Wine, produced from top quality Sauvignon Blanc grapes with an added dazzle of tiny bubbles to delight the senses on a hot summer’s day…” goes the PR spiel.

The bottle itself is unusual, with a turquoise hue to the glass and a bright turquoise cap — probably to summon up associations with the sea. Shaped like a ‘skittle’, it is very pretty and should stand out on shelf.

Robertson describes its new brand extension as imbued with tropical fruit flavours and a lively “dash” of fizz. It will retail nationwide at all retailers and liquor outlets for around R50.

Smart innovation

Webtickets PnP book online pay in storePick n Pay and Webtickets have just released the signage for their new partnership, announced this month, to provide integrated ticketing solutions to customers. Customers are now able to order tickets for any Webtickets event online or via its mobile device — and pay for them in store at any Pick n Pay nationwide.

This added flexibility means customers will be able to pay for and collect tickets to events and shows 24 hours a day through Pick n Pay Express Stores — and they do not need to have a credit card or even a bank account to do so. This should open the service up to millions of South Africans who do not have access to credit facilities or online banking.

The co-founder of Webtickets, Christy Turner, says the company has been exploring how to augment its audience reach through retail partnerships.

“One of the most exciting innovations is the ability for Webtickets and Pick n Pay customers to load tickets directly onto their smart shopper cards, which can then be scanned to gain access at the venue. Going forward, customers will also be able to redeem smart shopper points for tickets, which is another excellent benefit for shoppers. The turnaround time to get this project into pilot phase has been phenomenal,” Turner explains.

Deputy CEO of Pick n Pay, Richard van Rensburg, says that, in the near future, customers will also be able to book and pay for tickets at the new PinP Money Counters in select stores. The first Money Counter went live at the Brackenfell PnP store in October, and two additional Money counters have launched at stores in Cavendish Square and the V&A Waterfront this month, offering the same functionality.

Webtickets’ book-online-pay-in-store went live this month, and is available at any of almost 800 PnP stores countrywide.

New vodka batch

Russian Bear Single Batch Grain VodkaRussian Bear has launched a new grain-based variant, called Single Batch, which is now available in stores in anticipation of the approaching festive season. Russian Bear Single Batch Grain Vodka is produced in small batches of 1500 cases, and follows in the distillation footsteps of other premium vodka brands within the Edward Snell stable.

Within the single-batch process and through the use of grain as an input material lies a craft element that is said to result in a smooth taste, suggestive of a superior vodka.

Packaged in a stylish gift bag, and boasting a soft, floral nuance on the nose, as well as being smoother on the palate due to the grain distillation, the limited-edition Single Batch is aimed at holiday shoppers armed with Christmas gift lists.

“Like Russian Bear Original, Russian Bear Single Batch Grain Vodka is triple-distilled and then charcoal-filtered to remove 100% impurities, which consequently offers the consumer remarkably smooth vodka,” comments Schalk van Wyk, Edward Snell & Co marketing manager.

Rooibos industry mobilises

Rooibos Quality Seal logoThe Rooibos industry has launched a new website,, to provide a central point for its various stakeholders and for news about the industry, following upon the industry recently being recognised and shielded with ‘Geographical Indication’ status. This label is meant to protect the name Rooibos, and allow it to capitalise and build upon its geographical origin and global reputation.

Rooibos (and other well-known products such as Gorgonzola, Camembert and Champagne) can only be labelled as such if they come from the designated region. The new status for our beloved tea brand is meant to ensure that there are guidelines and control over production and quality.

Rooibos Ltd, which has been supplying the tea globally for 60 years, has launched this aggregate site for all information about Rooibos Ltd, and the industry and the origins of our indigenous tea brand.

“The protection granted by the economic partnership agreement between southern African nations and the European Union (EU) to the term ‘Rooibos’, has proved a daunting task over the years and a topical issue,” reports Gerda de Wet, Rooibos Ltd’s communication manager. “Two decades ago, a company in the USA trademarked the word Rooibos, forcing the Rooibos industry to prove that the commodity’s name actually belonged to South Africa.”

The Rooibos plant Aspalathus linearis grows only in the Cederberg region of the Western Cape. It was Benjamin Ginsberg, a pioneering Russian immigrant, who first realised the marketing potential of Rooibos back in 1904.


Shelf Life is a weekly column by Louise Marsland. Tweet new product, packaging and design launches to @louise_marsland Louise Marslandor email her at louise.marsland at Want to sponsor Shelf Life? Contact us here.

Louise has written about the FMCG, media, marketing and advertising industry for 20 years as a former editor of magazines AdVantage, Marketing Mix and Progressive Retailing, as well as websites and FMCGFiles. She also edited the weekly Wednesday Media & Marketing Page for The New Age newspaper. She is currently the publishing editor of industry trendwatching portal, TRENDAFRiCA, for consumer insight, research and trends in Africa; a regular industry columnist and speaker; a consultant on content strategy; and contributing editor to Fast Company South Africa magazine, which has just launched in South Africa.

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