There was plenty of excitement about the Share a Coke campaign, which offered punters a personalised can and tapped into the powerful narcissistic tendencies of the modern age. And Pernod Ricard-owned brand Jacob's Creek is offering something of a grown-up equivalent, with a pop-up winemaking experience in Auckland where customers can taste and combine up to four of the label's most popular varieties to make their own red or white blend.
Guided by a professional winemaker, the mixes will be bottled on the spot to take away, complete with a personalised label. The entire process will take 15-20 minutes and each bottle will cost $20.
Jacob’s Creek winemaker Bernard Hickin says the idea is to make wine approachable for consumers, while marketing manager Melissa Butler says lots of people are keen to learn about wine but there's an often overwhelming amount of information out there (it seems the experts have a bit of learning to do too, as this story from The Guardian about a Californian wine maker/statistician whose experiment showed that wine-tasting was junk science).
"We think the best place to start is with what you like, because everyone has a unique palate," she says. “There are up to 548 different wines people can create with Blend. With expert guidance from our winemakers, people can learn more about what they like in a wine and create a top drop perfectly suited to their taste.”
Personalisation is one of the big trends in marketing at present and, as Cheryl Calverley, Birds Eye masterbrand marketing manager, said in Marketing Week, "marketers that fail to embrace this and continue with a one-size-fits-all creative and communication strategy will simply not be part of the conversation". To personalise wine, Jacob’s Creek partnered with leading fluid control specialists Bürkert and commissioned it to develop a machine that produces blends to each customer’s specifications. The process took more than 12 months and, as the technology was built to fit into a shipping container, Pernod Ricard plans to activate it across multiple markets in 2014.
To coincide with the experiential activity, Jacob’s Creek also launched an instore and digital campaign via Ogilvy called the virtual Blend bar online, which offers two prizes worth $10,000 to those who create their own wine blend online and "discover what it reveals about you".
Both the pop up winemaking experience and virtual Blend bar will uncover New Zealand’s most popular red and white blends, with the top two blends launched into stores in mid 2014.
The pop-up Jacob’s Creek Blend experience will run from January 29 to February 15 and be open daily from noon at Takutai Square in Britomart.