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For the vast majority of wine businesses, large “above the line” advertising campaigns are inappropriate and financially unviable.  How do you sort out the plethora of advertising opportunities that are presented to you and get a cumulative benefit for your brand?

Advertising works on a simple formula of frequency and repetition over time.  How many times has the audience been exposed to your advertising message and over what time frame?

Running one ad as a one off is not a very sound strategy.  What cut through will it achieve and will that single exposure fundamentally change anyone’s behaviour toward your brand? Highly unlikely – IF they knew who you were, IF your brand was already in their consideration set, IF the message was compelling to them at the time and IF they saw the ad they might take action. That adds up to one very big IF.

Advertising has two main purposes: • To build your brand. Think of the car ad with the family driving to soccer; it tells you something about the brand and the benefits that car brand offers the driver • A call to action. Think of the End of Financial Year Run Out ad aimed at the person looking for a new car who, at the thought of a good deal, may rush into that particular dealer to buy.

The first ad requires repetition and is all about keeping your brand top of mind.  If you can only run it once or twice a year there is very little point. The second relies on your talking to the audience when they are ready to buy.

Here is a quick checklist to help you evaluate advertising opportunities and a few handy hints.

  • Always remember who your audience is and what your current brand priorities are. If your customers are local travellers then an ad in a national cooking magazine is not likely to hit your target market.

  • Always keep your brand and its image top of mind. If you want to present a sophisticated image of country elegance then a bloke’s car magazine is the wrong choice.

  • Don’t get swayed by the “everyone else in the region is doing it” argument.  Supporting the local region is incredibly important, but that does not mean supporting all local initiatives at all costs.  If it’s not right for you, it’s not right regardless of who else has signed up.

  • Do your homework; check out the publication, its readership, circulation and who else advertises in it. Is it company you want to keep?

  • Never accept the rate card. Depending on the number of insertions, the size of your ads and many other variables, you can negotiate a much better price.

  • Always ask for “value adds” if you are spending a fair amount of cash. Ask if there are other opportunities – wines for a reader promotion, a subscription deal or an inclusion in their regular email are all up for grabs if you ask.

  • Don’t spend all the money on the space then run an amateur ad.  If you can’t afford good photography and professional design you can’t afford the ad.

  • Make sure your ad will be noticed. Don’t make it look like every other wine ad. Invest in some clever copy or great imagery.

  • If you have a great ad, use it so it gets to be associated with your brand. Don’t change your image, message or visuals for different media or opportunities.

And the final point is to always consider the opportunity cost.  What else could you do with the money?  Does this ad opportunity relate in some way to your other marketing activity?  Is there a cumulative effect?

Don’t get caught in the scatter gun approach because a thousand dollars here and a thousand dollars there soon adds up to a significant amount of money that could have been spent on more effective marketing.


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