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WOSA takes diversity message to consumers

Published:  23 July, 2008

Wines of South Africa (WOSA) has launched its first full-scale consumer campaign based around the diversity message it launched to the trade last year. The major focus for the campaign is a 170,000 advertising campaign on the London Tube network, which started last week and will run up to 2 July.

Utilising the strapline Variety is in our Nature,' the campaign aims to make a link between the biodiversity of its winelands (which boast more plant species than the whole of the northern hemisphere) and the diversity of its wines.

The poster campaign will be backed up with a PR campaign, retail promotions (such as the recent link-up with Threshers), consumer tasting events and possible activity at garden shows depending on the available budget'. The target audience is 35- to 54 year-old wine drinkers who are prepared to spend more than 5 on a bottle of wine.

According to Su Birch, chief executive of WOSA: This repositioning is not a quick-fix advertising slogan, but a long-term positioning. We acknowledge that biodiversity can be a complex message, but we believe it can be adapted and nuanced to different target audiences. Wine enthusiasts are interested in the soil and terroir angle of biodiversity, other communities care about the conservation angle, and at a mass consumer level, we believe we are tapping into trends that are becoming powerful motivators for purchase among "well-to-do" consumers in the First World.'

The marketing message is being reinforced by the conservation drive of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative that has seen 609 wineries sign up to the programme, and

more than 18,000 ha of land committed.

Wineries must pledge to farm sustainably, nurture a culture of respect' among employees and protect and encourage the biodiversity of the winelands.

Bruce Jack, winemaker and owner of Flagstone Winery, said the new consumer positioning was not just important but essential' to the long-term sustainability of the Cape's wine industry. We can't compete with countries like Australia at lower price levels,' he said, so we need to raise consumers' perceptions of what South African wine is... as well as our greatest asset, our diversity can also be a challenge. When you look at soils for example, we simply don't have the massive vineyards with homogeneous soils as they do in Australia. Our soils are incredibly diverse which makes for great wines, but it also makes them more difficult and expensive to work.'