Okay, Iâ€™ll take the bait. I can be taken in by a clever pr campaign.
Last week I received a bit of a teaser campaign in three parts. I suspect several of my wine blogging colleagues received the same packagesâ€”an anonymously sent picture of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers with a hang tag note that that says, â€œMatched Perfectly.â€ A couple of days later I received two aces from a deck of cards with a hang tag note again noting, â€œMatched Perfectly.â€ Finally, a day later comes a bottle of wine from Riddling Bros., a marketing firm that has created a spec. wine package and positioning called â€œGoes With Cellars â€¦â€
If my research is correct, the lead principal, Fred Schwartz, is an advertising agency vet with his own company, Fred & Company, which provides creative and strategic consulting to the wine industry.
Itâ€™s interesting then to note that the concept of â€œGoes With Cellars â€¦â€ is virtually identical to that of â€œWine that Loves â€¦â€ Many bloggers will recall the surge of P.R. that followed the introduction of â€œWine that Loves â€¦â€ in the spring of this year. Many bloggers had an opinion that wavered somewhere between indifference to derision, but then, weâ€™re not the audience, either.
The concept is simple, and in having conversations with Tracy Gardner, the principal for the Amazing Food Wine Company, the umbrella organization for â€œWine that Loves â€¦â€ itâ€™s genius in its simplicity.
Taking a page from the concept of Blue Ocean strategy whereby research is conducted to find uncontested market space and then executing a product strategy to address that unfulfilled demand, the â€œWine that loves â€¦â€ and â€œGoes With Cellars â€¦â€ concept simply creates wine that does not have any varietal, appellation or country of origin information, but is matched to the food that it would be served with; food that is commonly eaten by a wide swath of Americans like grilled steak, grilled salmon, pasta, roasted chicken, etc.
From a practical perspective, it makes perfect senseâ€”most wine is consumed the same day it is purchased, and usually it is purchased at the grocery store when other dinner provisions are being picked up. Why wouldnâ€™t this be a good idea?
I now also have full context on why Tracy, in my conversations with him via work with my employer, was incredibly secretiveâ€”secretive to the extent that I initially thought him a bit paranoid. He apparently knew what I wasnâ€™t thinking aboutâ€”a good idea will be quickly replicated.
Besides the idea flying in the face of wine enthusiasts for whom knowledge and esoterica is stock in trade, I suspect this concept in its original form with â€œWine that Loves â€¦â€ and its secondary form, â€œGoes With Cellars â€¦â€ has a tremendous opportunity in the market.
Goes With Cellars appears to be targeting a more finite audience with more specificity in its wineâ€”Beef: Peppercorn Steak with an associated recipe whereas â€œWine that Loves â€¦â€ is broader with just simply, â€œGrilled Steak.â€
Anybody that thinks that both of these concepts are fads that will meet a timely death would do well to recall a publishing phenomenon started a decade ago called the, â€œFor Dummies â€¦â€ series. These are general reference books aimed at a broad audience that were quickly copied in the market by a host of competitors including â€œThe Complete Idiotâ€™s Guide.â€ Both of these series were initially met with a lot of resistance from the intelligentsia and academians who derided the â€œdumbing downâ€ of information in such a crass, pandering format.
There are a lot of parallels between our wine scenario and this publishing scenario, and 10 years later we know the outcome and success of the book publishing opportunity. The â€œFor Dummies â€¦â€ brand is now, by many estimates, as recognizable as Coca-Cola, Starbucks and McDonaldâ€™s.
Time will tell which of these wine concepts becomes the â€œFor Dummies â€¦â€ of the wine world, but I suspect one will.