Graham Norton, Invivo and The Goat Farm: An inspired blend

In the last five years, Invivo & Co has grown sales of Graham Norton’s Own SauviGNon Blanc from 20,000 bottles to millions.

As Invivo’s ad agency, you might think it breaks our hearts a little to know that this growth has happened without any investment in advertising.

As their content and design partner, though, we couldn’t be happier.

It started with a tricky problem: how can we publicise the fact that Norton and his guests drink Invivo wine on The Graham Norton Show, when the producers won’t allow any commercial associations?

Our response: create a wine brand for Norton and build content to help Invivo sell the contents of the bottle.

The first vintage saw Invivo cofounder Tim Lightbourne smuggle grapes from Marlborough to London for Norton to stomp on set, then bring the resulting juice home to add to the 20,000 or so bottles in the first production run. (And led to four money-can’t- buy pages in Norton’s memoir, The Life and Loves of a He-Devil).

The followup was a little riskier – but turned out to be the magic that’s helped make the brand a worldwide success. Invivo winemaker Rob Cameron had the idea to hand over the blending flasks to Norton and let him create the wine himself (under Rob’s watchful eye).

At the end of the blending session, the recipe comes home to Invivo’s Te Kauwhata winery and forms the exact proportions to create that year’s Graham Norton SauviGNon Blanc.

As Invivo & Co’s Tim Lightbourne says, “This is about more than putting a name on a label. Authenticity matters, and telling the story of Graham’s involvement in the blend is a key part of that.”

At TGF, we work with video production partners to bring Norton’s fans into the blending session each year, and designed the SauviGNon Blanc brand and labelling (closely followed by Rosé, Shiraz, Prosecco and now Gin!). The success of the GN brand has helped fuel Invivo & Co’s growth, including two successful Snowball Effect crowdfunding campaigns, and has led to another celebrity collaboration with US actor and entrepreneur Sarah Jessica Parker (out later this year).

Having ideas like this – most agencies will tell you – is the easy part. Having the courage to say yes to them (and risk being arrested with contraband grapes at the UK border) is the hard part. If you feel like the kind of client who could say yes to our next idea, get in touch!

This story is part of a content partnership between StopPress and The Goat Farm.

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