APCOR sets up first UK headquarters

The Cork Information Bureau, the first office of its kind in the world, will open its doors in London later this month.

The CIB is a major part of the Portuguese Cork Association’s (APCOR) new €6.5m (US$5.8m) publicity drive for natural cork. The CIB will be a resource of cork information, facts and news to consumers, media and the trade. It will be run by UK agency Weber Shandwick.

Alongside the CIB, APCOR is also embarking its first ever ad campaign, targetting wine industry press and online publications in the UK, Australia and the US. The company’s website, www.corkmasters.com, will be revamped after its initial launch two years ago.

Francisco Evangelista, APCOR’s marketing director, is convinced that consumers and producers need more educating about the range of natural closures. ‘We are investing and improving more than ever before, using very modern techniques in our research. We now need to support our products with a unified voice,’ he says.

APCOR represents around 85% of Portugal’s cork production, but producers who are not yet part of the association could also be given the opportunity to become involved with the CIB, according to Evangelista.

So why has it taken until this year start up a marketing push for natural cork? Evangelista believes that with more publicity surrounding closures and their faults, people now need reassurance about natural cork.

‘We have to rise to the challenge of constantly improving natural cork, especially with heightened competition from synthetic closures in the world market. From a technical point of view, we are on the right track, and I am confident that cork will, in the future, be 100% reliable.’

The CIB, the one-year press campaign and the website will all be launched on 24 January.

Written by Tom Chippendale17 January 2002