The wine industry is guilty of going 'out of its way to confuse the consumer', and must urgently come up with 'a new big idea', according to a British advertising heavyweight.
Addressing delegates at the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) Forging Links symposium in Bordeaux, Sir John Hegarty, creative director of advertising agency Bartle Bootle Hegarty, delivered a stark warning to the industry’s elite.
‘The [wine] industry fails hopelessly on accessibility. This is market that goes out of its way to confuse the consumer,’ he said in his keynote speech, entitled ‘The wine business viewed from the outside’.
‘You’ve seen it – the way people in restaurants nervously pass round a wine list. It’s fear. You as an industry have encouraged that fear. The wine industry is the most fragmented market I’ve seen. Fragmented, confusing, impenetrable.’
Hegarty, one of the UK’s most experienced advertisers, responsible for Audi’s ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ advertising campaign among others, said that the wine’s ‘inaccessibility’ was inhibiting growth and urged delegates to reach out a new, younger generation of wine buyers.
‘Today’s market is a younger, more experimental audience. Invest in the future. Youth is the future.
‘We all know you’re passionate about wine,’ he said. ‘But we want to know what you’re going to do about it.’
Hegarty solution was to redress wine’s image as an accompaniment to food – which he suggested was a drawback – instead promoting it to stand alone with the slogan ‘wine flavours our life’.
The speech was delivered as part of a four day IMW symposium, sponsored by the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB).
Other speakers included Paul Draper, Michel Rolland, Jean-Claude Berrouet and Paul Pontallier.
The 2010 event was the seventh international symposium staged by the Institute of Masters of Wine.
Previous symposia have been held in California, Vienna and Perth.
Written by John Abbott in Bordeaux