See how Champagne is being marketed in FranceBy Patrick Schmitt
In France, Champagne is being promoted as an anytime drink, using posters featuring the fizz with pizza and doughnuts in a bid to attract a new, younger consumer to the category.
The campaign is now in its third phase, having started in 2018 with a range of posters in France showing glasses of Champagne placed alongside unlikely food matches, from eggs to artichokes, in an informal setting.
Starting with the strapline ‘Reservé à toutes les occasions’, which loosely translates as ‘suitable for any occasion’, the aim was to reach 25-45 year-olds with the message, promoting the idea that Champagne can be drunk whenever you want, with whatever you want.
Funded by the the association of grower-winemakers in Champagne, the SGV (which stands for Syndicat Général des Vignerons de la Champagne), the campaign was launched to stem a decline in Champagne sales in France, particularly among the grower-Champagne sector, and was put together by ad agency M&C Saatchi.
As reported by db not long after its launch, the images were not universally well-received, with Jean-Marie Barillère, the head of another association in Champagne representing the leading brands of the region, called the Union des Maisons de Champagne (UMC), commenting that the posters were damaging the upmarket image of the sparkling wine, which is the default option for special celebrations.
He said in an exclusive interview with db in early 2019, “I see this [campaign] as desacralisation of the Champagne moment and a devaluation of the Champagne category.”
Nevertheless, the campaign has continued, and entered its third phase last summer, in line with the SGV’s commitment to spend €4m per year for three years, having started the promotional work in France in the summer of 2018.
Continuing with the message that Champagne does no need to be reserved only for celebrations, the most recent posters feature a new set of straplines to suggest that the drink itself creates a special moment, rather than requiring one to serve it.
From June to September last year, as many as 15,000 posters were put up in 126 cities in France, as part of the final piece of this promotional campaign.
Speaking last week to db, the new head of the Comité Chaampgne, Charles Goemaere, said that his organisation, which governs all aspects of the region, would not be running an advertising campaign to promote Champagne.
“The Comité is not planning to run a collective promotion – we never have, and we never will – because our members consider that it’s their role to promote the product, and our role is to help people understand what Champagne is: we provide education, and our members promote the product,” he explained.
While the first set of posters from the SGV featured foods such as eggs and cheese, the second run of images for summer 2019 moved onto to leftovers, such as quiche Lorraine and a cold leg of lamb wrapped in cling film.
The latest set from last summer moved on to a new set of surprising pairings, from doughnuts to radishes.
From the SGV’s perspective, the campaign has been a success, because it was designed to “shock”, and has generated plenty of reaction in Champagne’s domestic market, which is the largest in the world by some margin, although it has been suffering a long term, gradual decline.