A Saintly attempt to market a new wine using merchandise

Who: Arterra Wines Canada (Saintly brand) with Bensimon Byrne and PHD Canada for media.

What: An effort that positions Saintly as an ecommerce fashion and lifestyle brand, with a merchandise line that includes a $52 “The OG” crewneck, a $26 “It’s rosé” bucket hat and a $250 “Spilled rosé” rug developed in collaboration with Canadian rug-maker Rashelle Campbell. “They’re very much of-the-moment items that appeal to our customer base,” said Arterra’s executive vice-president, CMO, Andrea Hunt.

When & Where: The campaign is entirely online, through a combination of paid and organic social that also uses the social feeds of collaborator partners such as Campbell and Remixedbytal. It’s running for approximately eight weeks.

Why: Hunt said that the goal is to generate broader awareness of the one-year-old VQA brand and present it to consumers in a non-standard way. “When people hear about Saintly they’re very interested in trying it, so this is certainly about spreading the word about a great tasting product and one we think champions values that are relevant for many,” she said.

The goal is to create what Hunt called “mental availability” within consumers’ mind, which can be a tiebreaker when they are perusing the many options on liquor store shelves. “You put it in somebody’s subconscious as a brand you’ve heard and seen, so that when you are at shelf you’re able to make that connection.”

And who is the customer base: “They have shared values of being very individual, they push the rules a little, and live life on their own terms,” said Hunt. “We have a [brand mantra] that ‘Rebels deserve halos,’ so if you think about it from an aesthetic [standpoint] it’s about people who aren’t afraid to be their true selves. There’s some imperfection there, and we like to celebrate that.”

How: It’s a merchandise-as-marketing play, not unlike Budweiser’s goal lights and KFC’s sandals and fanny packs but for a more fashionable consumer segment. It’s about creating a “fashion brand that just happens to be a wine brand,” said Joseph Bonnici, partner/executive creative director at Bensimon Byrne. “When we looked around at what brands were able to capture people’s imagination, it tended to be fashion,” he said. “When you look at how they’re able to strike the right tone at the right moment and be in the moment with their marketing, we thought that was a really great place to be.”

Even though wine sits comfortably in the worlds of lifestyle and fashion, its marketing has tended to be restrictive and focused on time-honoured approaches, which means a newer brand can easily get lost in a sea of sameness. “It’s really very much at the centre of things, but if you think about it’s portrayal in advertising, you tend to associate it more with grapes or a plate of cheese,” she said. “Often it finds itself outside of the very context in which it lives.”

And we quote: “Wine is such an incredibly fragmented category that you can’t just put out a wine and talk about its terroir or its tasting notes. We wanted to walk as far away from that as possible.” — Joseph Bonnici, partner/executive creative director at Bensimon Byrne

Chris Powell