In mid-2013, Australian winery Jacob’s Creek enlisted Hill+Knowlton to drive sales of its Moscato wine in Canada. The challenge? It wasn’t a new product, and there was nothing new about it: no new packaging or innovation to focus on. Relying on traditional media or PR wouldn’t cut it, because there was simply no news. Hill & Knowlton needed to think beyond the print and broadcast landscape.
When it came to the Jacob’s Creek Moscato target consumer (young, urban, socially connected women), social media was on our side. We knew there was an opportunity to interact with them directly—without relying on traditional media at all.
There was an opportunity to build a lifestyle brand, trusted by its target demographic, who are hungry for genuine online interactions with brands who speak their language.
We wanted to create a first-of-its-kind campaign in the wine category: a social media-led program that wasn’t designed to just “sell bottles.” The premise was for the brand to act like a person. To drop the marketing speak. To relate to people with personality. To prioritize one-to-one interactions. And to put a premium on quality over quantity. Our goals were to:
- Build awareness about Jacob’s Creek Moscato with the target consumer (young, urban, fun-loving women).
- Generate buzz for the Jacob’s Creek brand and grow consideration by creating excitement for Jacob’s Creek Moscato.
- Position Jacob’s Creek Moscato as the must-buy wine for summer among the brand’s target audience.
- Help drive sales of Jacob’s Creek Moscato wine to establish it as the leading Moscato nationwide.
- Be relevant and stand out from other wine brands.
Once we determined the strategy—to use content, language and consumer interaction to position Jacob’s Creek Moscato as a lifestyle brand (“one of the girls”)—we worked closely with the Canadian distributor Corby Spirit & Wine to nail down the program’s primary objectives:
- Create a custom, ownable hashtag to resonate with the target consumer to measure against.
- Publish new content weekly during campaign periods.
- Award tweet-worthy prizing to at least one “super-fan” every week of the shows (for a total of nine weeks’ worth of Moscato prize packs per run).
- Significantly increase @JacobsCreekCA Twitter followers (minimum: tenfold in the first 90 days).
- Generate a minimum of two million Twitter impressions.
- Out-perform competitive wine brands in terms of sales.
We used our insights and expertise to create #MoscatoMonday—a Twitter listening campaign that took place during weekly episodes of The Bachelorette TV show, designed to turn our target consumers’ weekly live-tweeting rituals during the show into Moscato drinking occasions.
We negotiated a sponsorship of The Bachelorette with Rogers Media to air 10-second closed-captioned billboards, which introduced the idea to viewers of transforming every Monday into #MoscatoMonday.
We hired our own voice talent, animated the spot to ensure engagement and added audio elements—clinking wine glasses—to help it stand out.
We then tied in social media amplification by developing creative that prominently featured our Twitter hashtag and tied into the show’s live chat, and coordinated with Rogers to air it. This drove our target audience to Twitter to connect with other fans of The Bachelorette through the hashtag.
As the program took off, we created best practices to ensure we not only owned the #MoscatoMonday conversation, but injected ourselves in an authentic way into other conversations about #TheBachelorette. We always appeared to be “on” by using a paid strategy, with promoted tweets, as well as social monitoring and measurement tools like Tweetdeck, Radian6 and Twitonomy. Together, this helped ensure that—much like any good girlfriend—when someone in our community reached out, Jacob’s Creek Moscato was there almost immediately to offer an answer to a question, a joke or a custom cocktail recipe.
Aside from the typical recipes that alcohol brands usually share, we also crafted other compelling, shareable content. Here’s a small sample of what we pushed out to followers and fans in year one alone:
- A look at the history of The Bachelorette franchise, told as an infographic (Great Moments in Bachelorette History)
- “Expert” rankings for contestants from week to week
- Cheeky goodbye images when favorite contestants didn’t get a rose
- Ongoing tallies of eliminated contestants
— Jacob’s Creek Canada (@JacobsCreekCA) June 24, 2014
We built a social community from scratch by giving the brand a personality that took it from “just wine” to being the best guest at the party. We tweeted like “one of the girls”—chiming in on fashion choices, cheesy dates, crazy contestants and the general drama inherent in reality television. In doing so, we positioned Jacob’s Creek Moscato as a lifestyle brand bubbling over with personality.
As the community grew to more than 5,000 followers, @JacobsCreekCA offered witty, running commentary during each episode, saluting its community for their banter, engaging with influencers and former contestants, and awarding weekly viewing parties.
Even though the shows only aired once a week, we spent downtime actively searching for and creating premium social content for Jacob’s Creek to share. Everyone took an “always on” approach. And while we knew that the content could be lighthearted, we took the program very seriously.
Every week, we used social media analytics to evaluate what aspects of the program were working, and which required more tailoring. As a result, we were consistently adapting, modifying and evolving our approach—serving up the best possible content to the right people at the right time.
Consumers welcomed Jacob’s Creek with open arms, to the tune of 2,000 #MoscatoMonday tweets and discussions each Monday night. We successfully established the brand as “one of the girls” and consumers really felt they were tweeting alongside a friend. So much so, in fact, that by week eight—when the #MoscatoMonday phenomenon had grown so big that five other wine brands tried to hijack our hashtag—our fans fought for us and stayed true to Jacob’s Creek Moscato, telling the other brands to back off.
A winning campaign
This campaign won a 2016 Gold Quill Award of Merit in the Social Media Programs category. For more than 40 years, IABC’s Gold Quill Awards program has evaluated the work of communication professionals around the globe, recognizing the best of the best in the profession.
We recognized “tweets of the night,” created timely Twitpics, and tracked for mentions of wine. We selected one contest winner per week for nine weeks, to whom we hand-delivered Jacob’s Creek Moscato prize packs so they could host at-home “viewing parties” every Monday evening.
What started as a Twitter handle with 66 followers saw explosive growth thanks to the #MoscatoMonday program. The number of followers of @JacobsCreekCA increased to more than 5,000 over our two-season stint. In the first 90 days alone, we helped increase followers at a rate of nearly 47 percent week over week.
The overall program enjoyed 5.21 million Twitter impressions, more than double our anticipated metrics, featuring 113,355 unique Twitter engagements. Plus, the #MoscatoMonday hashtag took on a life of its own and we saw many #MoscatoMonday references to drinking occasions separate from The Bachelorette episodes—something we never anticipated.
Above all, the best demonstration of #MoscatoMonday’s success was its impact on sales. In an extremely competitive category, sales were 360 percent higher than the previous year, with many liquor stores unable to keep the wine in stock. Store staff even reported that consumers came in asking for “The Bachelorette wine.” And all without any other above-the-line campaign, proving that it was our programming that hit the mark.
Jacob’s Creek now boasts the leading Moscato in Canada, with expectations for even more growth and high sales targets ahead. It has been embraced as a lifestyle brand by consumers.