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Wine industry needs to rethink the way it uses video hears Google social media seminar

Published:  20 February, 2015

Wine businesses need to rethink use of online video to engage with consumers, a leading wine academic has said.

Damien WilsonDamien Wilson

Speaking at a seminar on the use of video by wine businesses hosted by Google last night, Dr Damien Wilson of the School of Wine and Spirits Business with the Burgundy School of Business, said there was greater impetus than ever before to use online videos for marketing, but few examples of wine producers using video successfully. "Video in the wine sector sucks," he claimed. "What the wine industry believes is important and valuable to communicate just isn't resonating with the consumer - and it isn't getting traction."

He said it was important not to focus on the product, but to look at using video as a medium to communicate. "We need to open up the idea of finding ways to get winemakers confident and competent in coming up with ideas and methods to communicate with video," he said.

Stephen Cronk of Mirabeau Wines, whose Youtube video of opening a wine bottle with a shoe has attracted more than 9m views since it was released a year ago, said there was a "massive disconnect" between the trade and the general consumer. The industry was full of pretention and snobbery, he added, and wine businesses were guilty of perpetuating the myths. "No-one can shatter the illusion," he said. "But talking medal scores, Parker points and terroirs is not engaging online. People don't want to know about terroir or viscosity, they want to be entertained. And all the tools are available to do that."


Mirabeau's infamous shoe video

Helena Nicklin of Wine Birds said there was a whole new generation of wine drinkers that the trade was not reaching. "We have to find a way to get to them," she said. "The trade needs to talk in a more general way about wine, not bombarding and overwhelming consumers with wine facts."

Engaging through personality was key, she added. "In the end, people buy from people."

The seminar at Google Campus in London was attended by MSC students from the School of Wine in Burgundy who are on a study tour of the UK. Also present were students from Plumpton College and a number of leading English winemakers.

Other speaks included industry commentator Robert Joseph, Derek Scobie, head of YouTube brand propositions at Google, and Diana Isac, co-founder and CEO of travel and wine website, Winerist.

There will be a full report in the March issue of Harpers.