Invivo gets its pound of flesh from Graham Norton

As we wrote last week, the classic endorsement approach in New Zealand seems to be bunging a rugby player (or even a coach) on your ad. But Invivo’s strategy is at the other end of the spectrum, with international talk show host and self-proclaimed he-devil Graham Norton called on to help create—and now help promote—a very special wine. 

Every week, Norton and his guests sample a little bit of New Zealand on his show, with Invivo the preferred wine. Back in May, Invivo co-founder Tim Lightbourne said it wanted to make something special with Norton to thank him for his support over the years. But instead of getting him to come to the vineyard, they took the vineyard to him with the help of Vaughn Davis from the Goat Farm. 

In early April, Lightbourne and Invivo’s other co-founder, winemaker Rob Cameron, hand-picked a small container of organic sauvignon blanc grapes, then took them on a special (carbon offset) 20,000km journey. From London it was a quick trip by black cab to the London studios, where Norton rolled up his trouser legs and personally trod on the grapes.

Less than 24 hours after landing in London, Lightbourne and the very special grape juice were on their way back to New Zealand and reunited with the rest of the juice from the vineyard block. 

Lightbourne said the full terms of the agreement were confidential, but Norton does own one percent of the company. 

Profits from the wine will be donated to the Elton John Aids Foundation.

“We see this as a little different to just having someone’s name on the label,” said Lightbourne. “It was fantastic to have Graham so intimately involved in the process.”

​Invivo has been promoting the wine via ads during Norton’s show on TV3 and it has also released a radio ad. 

Norton’s book, The life and loves of a he devil, has just been released in New Zealand and Invivo giving away 30 copies with an on bottle promotion (enter here). And as Davis says, “the big news with the wine is that Graham has devoted four pages to it in his book … content marketing old school!” 

Lightbourne doesn’t have the latest sales figures, but he says there are around 200 stores selling the wine and in its first week it sold around 8,000 bottles. It’s also had good ratings from wine journalists and has picked up a couple of medals in wine competitions. 

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