Picture the scene: two wine bottles in a showdown – one with more medals on its frontage than a trumped up Banana Republic general, a real Idi Amin wannabe. You can almost hear the squeaky voice: “Pick me! Pick me!” Another, confidently standing there like Dirty Harry, unsullied and broad chested: “Go ahead,” the gravelly tones challenge, “make my day!”
Those bright, shiny little logos promise so much – Gold medal here, Trophy winner there, Best Value award, Umpteen stars in XYZ selection. As a consumer and producer how can you not succumb?
Once producers have added one sticker to the bottle – where do they stop? If a bronze medal causes a blip in sales, what will a silver – or even a gold do? Just imagine the ‘ka-ching’ of cash registers for a double gold – or (gasp!) even a TROPHY medal!
Flippancy and cynicism aside, there’s no doubt that stickers definitely help sell the product. Speak to any winemaker or marketing person and they will state that there’s a distinct correlation between a shiny little tag and the number of bottles sold. But haven’t you also thought that there’s something smacking of desperation on bottles with anything more than two or three? I mean, we’ve all seen them: those bottles so flamboyantly (proudly?) bedecked with competition stickers that you can barely identify the wine, let alone its producer!
What does that say about us as consumers? Are we so unsure of ourselves and either our knowledge or choice of wine that we blindly accept what the marketer or competition would have us believe? “Oh-ho! This wine’s full of stickers so it MUST be excellent. Jolly good! I’ll have two bottles of that so that I can impress the heck out of my mates.” And, sadly, if the mates are impressed then they’re equally naive or insecure.
Truth of the matter is, as much as the winery scores by increased sales – so does the sticker peddlar. Barring one or two notable exceptions which give the tags away free, gratis and for niks, most competitions, ratings and medal stickies come at a price. Multiply a few thousand shiny markers at 20c or so apiece and it generates a nice little chunk of cash for the competition organisers or ratings agency.
Well, Steenberg’s position is not to stick anything on the bottle other than the label. Yes, they’ve won awards – multiple stars, medals and top ratings in competitions locally and abroad. But as Sales and Marketing manager Anetha Homan says, Steenberg has invested a huge amount of effort (not to mention a great deal of money!) in getting the look right – why go and spoil it? “We’re selling brand loyalty for our top tier wines – not this or that competition.”
Novel concept: that people buy your wine because it’s good, the price is right or that they know and like it. And there’s something else to consider – that it’s uncluttered label speaks of a calm, self-assured confidence. In my book, Dirty Harry wins the day!
Well, our position is not to stick anything on the bottle other than the label. Yes, we’ve won awards – multiple stars, medals and top ratings in competitions locally and abroad. But we have invested a huge amount of effort (not to mention a great deal of money!) in getting the look right – why go and spoil it? We’re selling brand loyalty for our top tier wines – not this or that competition.
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