Rioja rebrand takes on Spanish strapline

Rioja launched a new global campaign in London last night to mark the advent of new quality tiers and altered regulations, as well as create “an emotional connection with consumers” using a three-word strapline in Spanish.

Rioja’s new print advertising campaign featuring the Spanish slogan and pictures painted by native Riojan artist Carlos Corres using wine from the region

Employing the slogan Saber Quién Eres – which translates as ‘knowing who you are’ – Rioja will now be promoted in all markets with this message in Spanish, although all additional promotional material will be communicated in the local language of the market.

Speaking at the launch event in London last night, Ricardo Aguiriano, who is marketing director for the Rioja regulatory board (Consejo Regulador DOCa Rioja), explained the thinking behind the new tagline.

“We have a new global claim, Saber Quién Eres, which means ‘Knowing who you are’, and it will be used in Spanish in our communications all around the world,” he began.

Continuing, he said, “It highlights the identity and origin of the region and connects Rioja with consumers in an emotional and rational way.

“Rioja is a global brand that acts local, market by market, so the claim will be accompanied by local initiatives in the local language,” he added.

He also noted that the concept ‘knowing who you are’ was relevant to both producers in Rioja as well as consumers, whatever the market.

“Knowing who you are means a lot of things for Rioja producers, it means living with pride and staying true to your roots and dedicating your life to a passion.

“And the consumer wants artisan products, they want to know authentic stories behind the wines,” he stated.

He then announced that a new advertising campaign featuring the Spanish message would be accompanied by paintings drawn by native Riojan artist Carlos Corres using wine made from indigenous Spanish grapes, such as Graciano, Mazuelo and Tempranillo (see picture, above).

Speaking exclusively to the drinks business after the announcement, Jose Luis Lapuente, who is director of the Consejo Regulador DOCa Rioja, said that the region had decided to use a Spanish slogan for its international marketing message for two reasons.

One of these is due to the fact that Rioja contains a monastery where the first clues to the Spanish language were discovered, making Rioja, in effect, the birthplace of the country’s dialect.

As a result, Lapuente chose the Royal Academy of Language in Madrid as the venue to present its new strapline within its domestic market back in February.

Secondly, Rioja has chosen to communicate itself in its native tongue as a statement of its “flagship” status within Spain.

“We have also chosen to use Spanish in all countries because we consider that we are the flagship [wine] region of Spain, so we want to use a Spanish trademark to represent Rioja,” he told db.

When asked by db whether he was inspired by car brand Audi, which successfully used a German strapline – Vorsprung durch technik, meaning ‘advancement through technology’ – to promote itself in the UK from 2007 to 2016, he said that he wasn’t attempting to copy any particular brand, but noted that premium products often use their native language in marketing.

“We are not imitating Audi, but we realize that premium brands don’t care about [changing] the language [to suit the local market], and yes, the Audi campaign is a good comparison,” he said, before stressing that it was only the slogan that would be in Spanish.

“The rest of the message will be communicated in the language of the destination,” he stated.

Speaking to attendees of the event, the reaction to the Spanish strapline was mixed, with some congratulating the region for being ‘brave’ in employing Spanish in its marketing slogan, noting that it would create plenty of publicity, and ensure a point of difference for Rioja compared to other wine regions that use mostly English is their marketing messages. It was also noted that Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world after Chinese, so the new slogan’s reach would be broad, despite not being written in the ‘international’ language of English.

Others, however, felt that the new tagline would not be understood or remembered by those in markets where Spanish wasn’t the national language.

The new brand identity was unveiled at The Mondrian in London with an event entitled ‘The new face of Rioja’, where José Luis Lapuente and Ricardo Aguiriano from the regulatory board presented the fresh concept.

This was followed by a panel discussion focused on the legislative changes and new indications that took place in Rioja in 2017, which was led by Sarah Jane Evans MW, and featured Beth Willard, buying manager at Direct Wines, and Neil Bruce, who is head of wine at Fuller’s.

The concept Saber quién eres was created by Spanish advertising agency Shackleton, and is being presented globally and introduced to 11 key markets including Spain, the UK, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, and the US.

In 2017 Rioja approved a series of new indications including Vinos de Zona (Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Baja – now called Rioja Oriental), Vinos de Municipio (villages, towns or municipalities), Viñedos Singulares, Espumosos de Calidad de Rioja (sparkling wines), as well as new ageing requirements for Reserva and Gran Reserva wines, and permitted the production of single varietal white wines.

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