The D.O.Ca. Rioja is to invest 7.4 million euros in a promotional campaign to take place in major Rioja drinking countries (Spain, the UK, Germany, the USA, Switzerland, Sweden, Mexico and China) with the goal of strengthening the excellent position achieved by the wines of this Wine Region and to consolidate the historic export figures achieved in 2011. The Control Board thus provides continuity for its promotional efforts aimed at achieving one of the main goals of its Strategic Plan: increased exports. This is one of Rioja’s key solutions to prepare for the end of the economic crisis and the results achieved so far in both sales and position in the international market have confirmed the wisdom of that strategy.
The Control Board has designed a global strategy for all the countries where the promotional campaign is to be deployed, involving both wineries and importers (in 2011, participants included 223 importers and about as many wineries). The main goal pursued is to empower and give prestige to the Rioja brand among final consumers, prescriptors, journalists and POS professionals. Another priority strategic goal is to focus campaigns on achieving a greater presence and visibility for Rioja at points of purchase through specific promotions. The key messages to be conveyed by the campaign focus on the great quality and diversity of Rioja wines, their constant innovation, their consistent authenticity, Tempranillo as a key to their personality, their excellent value for money and the tradition and prestige of the region.
With regard to investments by country, the United States will receive €2,915,353, totalling the highest share, as it is considered the market with the greatest growth potential. Just as in the U.S., promotional investments are planned for Mexico (€685,279), Switzerland (€586,535) and China (€549,142) with co-funding from CMO funds, given their status as ‘third countries’. The CMO funds provide the D.O.Ca. Rioja with an additional 2.35 million euros for promotions outside the EU. The second country with the greatest promotional investment (€1,184,661) is the United Kingdom, the leading importer of Rioja wines with 33% of total exports. Germany will be allotted €300.121, Sweden €168.150, and Spain, with 70% of sales of Rioja Wine, €984.868. This completes the total budget, which has experienced a 2 million euro cut over the previous year.
Main activities by market
This year, the United States moved up to third place among Rioja importers, so the campaign will be based on an ambitious programme of POS promotions, with 75% of the budget to be spent off-trade and 25% on-trade, in order to increase sales of Rioja and generate visibility for the Rioja brand in both sales channels. Activities will focus on New York, Florida, Chicago, California and Texas, while a big event for professionals and consumers is to be organised in Miami on 30 April. Finally, there will be an online advertising campaign in lifestyle media, mainly aimed at young, urban, end customers, together with parallel actions such as wine tastings and Rioja parties with food and wine pairings. The campaign has a group of about 90,000 consumers and about 4,500 professionals who follow its activities and receive newsletters with information about the campaign and invitations to events. The popular US wine consumers' website Snooth.com, with over a million monthly users, has awarded the D.O. Ca. Rioja the title of ‘Wine Region of the Year 2011’ —a particularly valuable recognition because it comes from the wine lovers themselves.
The most outstanding activity of the UK campaign will be the fifth edition of the successful "Rioja Tapas Fantasticas Festival", to be held in London on 14 and 15 July. This food and wine outdoor festival is attended by 15.000 people and has received three major awards for best promotional event of the year in the UK —from the International Wine & Spirits Competition, The Drink Business magazine (one of the leading wine and spirits publications in the UK) and The Golden Hedgehog PR awards. There will also be a competition for sommeliers and restaurateurs —the ‘Rioja Sommelier Challenge’ organised jointly with Imbibe magazine— and promotions in 25 independent retailers. Rioja will also sponsor the Club Elite VIP room for senior buyers at the London International Wine Fair.
This year, China joins the Rioja foreign promotional campaigns for the first time, with a budget of €500,000. The main objective of the campaign is to educate opinion leaders and business professionals on the virtues of Rioja wines through events, seminars and direct actions with importers and retailers. The event to launch the campaign is the first Rioja Fair, held on 13 and 15 March in Hong Kong and Shanghai, which turned out a great success, with 67 wineries featuring about 240 wines and attendance of some 1,300 Chinese trade professionals. During the Chinese New Year, from 23 to 29 January, a promotion of Rioja wines was organised in 60 shops in 7 cities. Plans for the rest of the year include food fairs, seminars and tastings in several cities, joint actions with Chinese investment banks to organise tastings for preferred customers, and trips to Rioja for buyers and the press.
In Germany, the second-largest importer of Rioja, highlights include a partnership with Meininger, an industry-leading food and wine media group, for several joint Rioja wine educational and promotional activities targeting professionals and consumers and the participation in the eat & STYLE trade fair, attended by high-spending connoisseurs and gourmets. Sweden is the fifth importer of Rioja and the campaign will continue with activities such as participating in the Nobel Prizes, the Rioja Sommelier Award, —unofficially considered the Swedish sommelier school championship— and seminars for catering professionals and consumers. Social media will also play a prominent role in the campaign. In Switzerland, Rioja is to participate in various cultural events and wine and food festivals as a platform to showcase the diversity of Rioja wines for consumers, with tastings in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. The campaign is to be supported by online advertising in lifestyle media, and activities involving social media.
One of the most significant Rioja wine promotional plans in Mexico is an advertising campaign targeting end consumers through different media such as billboards, television, magazines and the Internet with the slogan ‘Mexico driven by Rioja’. This year the campaign is employing the image and testimonial of 2 Mexican personalities: Jair Téllez, chef at the Merotoro restaurant and Denise Gutiérrez, lead singer of Hello Seahorse. They will be the faces of the campaign, along with the brand ambassador Deby Beard. Also, a series of PR activities are going to promote Rioja wine in restaurants and supermarkets and Rioja is planning to participate in Mexico’s main food and drink fairs.
Finally, in view of the magnificent results obtained in recent years, one of the most interesting activities planned for each country is a number of trips to Rioja for journalists and buyers. The goal is for them to learn first-hand about the great evolution experienced by the Wine Region over the last few years, both in its viticulture and in the wineries, as well as in the wide range of wine styles currently available. In 2011, 14 trips were organised, bringing 68 buyers, sommeliers and journalists from 5 different countries to Rioja.
New Award for 'Rioja Tapas Fantasticas'
The ‘Rioja Tapas Fantasticas’ initiative received a Golden Hedgehog award this week in Birmingham in the ‘Event of the Year’ category. In the picture, the taster, comedian and BBC presenter Olly Smith, accompanied by Susy Atkins, the Sunday Telegraph critic, who conducted the tastings and seminars of the fourth ‘Rioja Tapas Fantasticas’ festival, held in London at the foot of Tower Bridge. The event has become one of the most outstanding Rioja promotional activities in the international market.