That’s the Spirit! Wine and Liquor Marketing Case Studies

Case Study #1: Compelling Copy


When The Wine Exchange was looking to increase sales to club members, they hired four writers to each take a shot at a me-to-you letter extolling the wine buy that month. Since one of my strengths is my conversational style, I was able to create a compelling sales story that drew a 13% response, leaving other writers in the dust.

My copy was so persuasive, I went on to become The Wine Exchange’s regular copywriter.

And my letters were entered into their “Hall of Fame.”

Each month, I spun tales of triumph…how The Wine Exchange exercised a first right of refusal and scored an unbelievable value on a wine the French usually keep for themselves. How a little old lady in blue jeans showed up at The Wine Exchange’s European offices with a wine from her tiny vineyard in a brown paper bag that beat out expensive, top-of-the-line selections in a blind taste test.

Here’s one segment:

Dear Mr. Smith,

Just the other day, I heard something that made my pulse quicken. I’ve been whistling under my breath ever since. When you hear the full story, you’ll be whistling, too…

Here’s what happened: Through very confidential sources, our chief negotiator, Henri LeClerc, got word a major hotel chain released their option on 1992 Marquis de Terme Grand Cru Margaux. The famous chateau is known for their rare, high quality wine…and equally high price tags. Playing his cards just right, Henri struck a deal that surpassed my wildest dreams:

$163/case versus $233/case market price. You save $70.00!

What a feather in his cap! Such a feat definitely merits a substantial bonus this holiday season. And you will be the first to benefit.

It’s copy like this (and I wrote dozens of letters similar to this one) that got the phone ringing and filled their mailbox with orders.

Case Study #2: Beverage Tag Lines and Headlines

In another example, Alcone Marketing Group needed a tag line for Reposado.

They wanted to position the brand as a top-of-the-line tequila, and for the tag line to convey, “You’re Worth It!” I came up with over 35 ideas, and they selected The smooth taste you deserve.

United States Beverage chose wine coolers for a Category Outlook for CSP magazine, and needed an advertorial, pronto. I met with the VP Marketing and two days later they had their copy, a sales message that went out to 40,000+ readers and impacted their buying decisions for the upcoming year.

By way of background, I was told convenience stores want to attract women shoppers, and coolers target women. Malternatives, on the other hand, target men. My assignment was to differentiate the two consumers and position Seagram’s Coolers as the brand that will draw women into the store. Plus, demonstrate that coolers have a long track record with Seagram’s as the category leader – the brand that partners with retailers.

I developed a headline that defied any reader to turn the page without reading further.

And backed it up with lively, benefit-oriented copy that spoke directly to the target audience and hit their hot buttons:

The Sex Appeal of Seagram’s Coolers

Looking to attract the fairer sex? Look to Seagram’s Coolers, a favorite among women for 20+ years. Cooler consumers are uniquely female, ages 25 – 45, seeking a fruity, low alcohol, light beverage to enjoy off premises. Seagram’s Coolers have inspired a legendary loyalty with the ladies. The kind of shopper you like… who most often buys Coolers as an incremental purchase with beer.

By contrast, malternatives target males seeking high alcohol content for on-premise consumption who typically migrate from beer.

NOT a Fad!

Unlike malternatives, with a zillion “me, too!” products whose days are numbered, Seagram’s Coolers demonstrate staying power, having delivered 235 million cases of profit over two decades.

The cooler segment will sell nearly 20 million cases this year. Make the move to Seagram’s and boost your profits by 15%+.

Seagram’s is #1 in the C-Store Channel!

While one brand of Coolers slips into oblivion, Seagram’s is surging in both sales and support. The C-Store Cooler Brand Ranking Chart tells the story!

Seagram’s is the category’s exclusive media supporter with a sizable media campaign launching this Spring. Seagram’s backs that with C-store specific support, including Point-of-Sale pieces that grab attention and spur sales.

Represented locally by many of the top beer distributors who provide frequent and dependable service and support, Seagram’s sets the stage for added rings…

The VP Marketing at United States Beverage couldn’t have been happier.

You’re certainly at the top of my list. You’ve done some very nice work for us and we’ll be reaching back out for you,” he said.

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