Véronique Simard, Arterra Canada
Dominique Berberi, Arterra Canada
Geneviève Bergeron, Arterra Canada
Sébastien Rivest, DentsuBos Montreal
Dimitra Georgakis, DentsuBos Montreal
Felix-Antoine Grenier, DentsuBos Montreal
Audrey Ouellette, DentsuBos Montreal
Judith Marois-Jones, DentsuBos Montreal
Catherine Dorion, DentsuBos Montreal
Étienne Théberge, DentsuBos Montreal
Olivier Rielland-Nadeau, DentsuBos Montreal
René-Charles Arseneau, DentsuBos Montreal
Pascal Tremblay, DentsuBos Montreal
Michele Marcotte, DentsuBos Montreal
Nathalie Mercier, DentsuBos Montreal
Pascale Boulanger, DentsuBos Montreal
Sebastien Labelle, DentsuBos Media
Sudio, Shoot studio
Production studio, Les Enfants
|Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):||6 months|
|Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: ||September 2016|
|Base Period as a Benchmark: ||12 months|
|Geographic Area: ||Quebec, Canada|
|Budget for this effort: ||$500,000 - $1 million|
The results speak for themselves. This launch was by far the most successful Arterra has ever had. The sales team couldn’t keep up with demand, surpassing their annual target within just six months. By month 10, they surpassed their second year objective, selling 2.16 million bottles of Bù. Consumers couldn’t get enough, with trials reaching an unprecedented rate not only among grocery shoppers but also new converts to the category that didn’t shop at the grocery store wine aisle before.
Arterra Wines Canada (previously Constellation brands) dominates the wine category in grocery stores both in Quebec and the rest of Canada. As a result, the brand risks being perceived as overly commercial and less authentic compared to smaller distributors. In a category where quality perception and brand loyalty drive most purchases, Arterra therefore has to craft products that are perceived as authentic while delivering on the brand promise.
Another challenge Arterra faced during the launch was that they couldn’t communicate their varietals in grocery stores. Varietals help consumers with their purchasing decisions at points of sale—along with sales consultants who are on hand at the SAQ but not in grocery stores. As a result, consumers are left to make their own decisions when choosing wine in this channel, especially in the under $15 category where competition is fierce across all retail channels and purchases are typically driven by price.
In spite of these tough market conditions, Arterra set out to achieve the impossible: launch a new wine brand in grocery stores that could stand up against the retail channel’s poor reputation. And so Bù was born; a new brand ready to change grocery store wine perceptions for the better.
When it comes to buying wine in Quebec, consumers don’t have a lot of options. They can either go to the government-run SAQ or shop at their local grocery store. While grocery stores offer affordable options, they aren’t really a go-to for quality wines. For many Quebecers, the SAQ is still perceived as the safest bet, with a wide range of wine options and trained staff that can answer questions and offer recommendations.
In Quebec, SAQ equals quality and sophistication while grocery stores tend to offer anything but.
Our initial objective before launch was to deliver 100,000 cases by the end of 2019 with strong and distinctive marketing support. We were aiming to sell 40,000 of these cases within the first year—11,500 cases for Bù Splendido, 14,500 cases for Bù Glissando and 14,000 cases for Bù Vivere.
Following the launch, we found that our products were performing well at points of sale so we revisited our initial objective, now aiming to deliver 250,000 cases (3 million bottles) by the end of 2019. To put these numbers in perspective, Wallaroo Trail—an established brand within the Arterra Canada portfolio and the number one wine in Quebec—had a sales objective of 522,000 (6.2M bottles) in the same period.
Our sales objective was ambitious as the team set out to ship 58,000 cases (700,000 bottles) in Year 1, and 100,000 cases (1.2 million bottles) in Year 2.
Since Arterra Brands dominates the grocery channel with 60 percent market share, it was imperative that Bù attracted new buyers rather than cannibalizing sales from the existing portfolio.
After launch, we found that 50 percent of Bù consumers came from the SAQ and hadn’t purchased wine at the grocery store in over a year. So Bù clearly gave them a reason to reconsider the wine aisle while doing their weekly grocery run.
We believe that quality comes from passion. In the complex world of wine where quality perception is everything, creating winning brands requires care, respect and dedication. Our biggest challenge was to overcome quality perception issues within the channel, especially since traffic would come from grocery stores rather than the SAQ.
Bù’s primary target is between 35 and 49 years old, skewed male (53 percent men vs. 47 percent women). These consumers don’t consider themselves fine wine connoisseurs, but they do seek out wines with the best quality for money compared with the average consumer. For better quality wines, this target is willing to pay a maximum of $14 to $16 for a bottle of wine. And while they don’t show strong signs of brand loyalty, they are willing to stick with a brand if the perceived value is there. In addition, this consumer group is interested in learning more about wine, but doesn’t have the time to seek out information alone. For them, the information needs to be readily and easily available.
To drive sales, we needed a strategy that could deliver the seal of quality and credibility, communicate our passion and give Bù customers confidence in their purchasing decisions. That’s when we came up with the idea to bring the brand to life through a sommelier spokesperson and launch simultaneously at the SAQ. The sommelier would not only lend credibility to the brand, but would also allow us to communicate varietals, a key factor in driving sales.
To partner with Jessica Harnois. This internationally renowned sommelier from Quebec wasn’t only a relatable and approachable choice for our demographic, she also had the credibility to bring a seal of quality to the brand. With her charisma and passion for wine, she was the perfect fit for Bù.
The idea to partner with well-known sommelier Jessica Harnois changed everything. Not only did it allow us to boost the brand’s quality perception and enter into negotiations with the SAQ, it allowed us to do something that had never been done before with a grocery store wine: feature the grape variety on the label.
When the wine launched, grocery store wines weren’t allowed to mention grape varietals on the label. But by collaborating with an expert sommelier, we were able to open up the conversation on this issue
Teaming up with Jessica Harnois ensured our new wine would be instantly noticed and considered credible among our core audience, while also helping us negotiate distribution at the SAQ. We anticipated a high quality perception with our target from the start.
We confidently positioned Bù with the same integrity reserved for fine wines. Wine barrels, rich textures and a dark colour palette set the tone, with Jessica standing front and centre. To tie everything together, we incorporated Jessica’s signature as an official endorsement and seal of quality on the product label and advertising communications.
While launching the Bù line of products, we needed to build awareness while also communicating Jessica’s involvement in the creation of these wines. At the media level, we chose high-impact formats that would build notoriety. All communications were fronted with our spokesperson, to establish a strong link between Jessica and the brand and her quest to find the perfect wine.
The premium look and feel of the products was balanced by Jessica’s down-to-earth approach. With her on board, we could speak to quality without alienating our core audience.
Bù wines were launched in store and in SAQ simultaneously in order to gain the customer's quality perception.
Jessica was incorporated into all branding, with a heavy commitment to television (a medium in which the competition simply didn’t invest). TV also indexes higher in Quebec than anywhere else for reach, and we were able to plan spots around PR initiatives to build momentum.
The media plan consisted of TV ads (30-second sponsorship bumpers) as well as web activations (pre-roll, Facebook, banners, programmatic, SEM). To support these channels, we also hit the streets with a stunt and tastings in grocery stores and at the SAQ.
Supporting channels reached our target at different touch points in their daily media habits—from Facebook to targeted banners on popular Quebec sites including La Presse and Ricardo.
Thanks to PR initiatives before the campaign, we were able to establish Jessica’s values and vision. Using the same PR portraits of Jessica for our communication materials, we were able to leverage her charismatic, close-to-home image. Placed front and centre on POP materials, Jessica was the first entry point to the brand, bringing instant expertise to a retail channel that lacked personality.
We officially launched Bù with a convenience store stunt. From the outside, it looked like a typical store on Beaubien Street in Montreal. The only difference was a red carpet leading to the front door and a valet waiting to welcome guests. Inside, we surprised guests by decorating the entire space to look like a rustic-chic wine cellar. Not only did this stunt go viral on social, it showed our consumers that they could, in fact, find great wines in grocery stores. To measure results, we invited guests to share the experience with the #vinsbu hashtag.
Beyond paid media, PR efforts around Jessica greatly helped the campaign reach its objectives. Thanks to her appearances on various talk shows including the number one morning Quebec TV show Salut Bonjour!, we were able to leverage Jessica’s charisma, expertise and homegrown reputation to propel the brand, imprinting these characteristics onto a complete unknown in the wine market.
POP materials also leveraged the partnership, fronting Jessica as a guide in the consumer journey. Acting as spokesperson and wine expert, Jessica pointed customers straight to Bù.
More than a voice, we were able to connect the brand with a face and a personality. Jessica was the rare gem that Arterra needed. While Jessica’s expertise helped strengthen Bù’s credibility in the grocery store space, it was her passion for the products that solidified the partnership.
47.3 percent of purchases came from first-time buyers in grocery stores, showing a dramatic change in perceptions and consumption habits, and a new source of volume.
Repeat purchases grew from the norm of 46 percent to 58 percent.
The #vinsbu launch hashtag was used 96 times and generated more than 235,000 impressions on social media in a single evening. The post-event video (in collaboration with DDMG for public relations) garnered more than 400,000 views and 15 million impressions.
Aside of sale, another KPI was to increase awareness through strong and distinctive marketing support. This mission was more than accomplished—Bù wines now have the second highest awareness levels for an international import grocery-store wine, second only to Wallaroo Trail, which has a major lead.
In addition, the SAQ—which has traditionally shunned grocery store wines—listed Bù as a permanent brand after reaching a three-month sales target in just five weeks.
The repeat purchase rate was 58 percent, an impressive 12 percent higher than the category norm.
The launch was a resounding success, surpassing projections by more than 375 percent and with the highest sales peaks mirroring our television flights. Some sales increased fourfold after the first flight.
In only six months, Arterra Canada sold close to 38,000 cases - 456K bottles (vs. the full year goal of 40,000 - 480K bottles) and Year 2 projections have been upped to a full 250,000 cases (3M bottles).
In just 10 months, Bù sales surpassed the Year 2 objective with 187,000 cases shipped and 2.16 million bottles sold.
Although not quantifiable, countless grocery stores ran out of Bù products following the launch. In fact, Arterra had a hard time responding to the demand for the 6 months following the launch. This sure illustrate how successful the launch was.
While the actual ROI cannot be calculated due to confidential information at Arterra Canada, the launch outperformed any previous launch of similar budget at Arterra.
In September, Arterra Canada sold 23 914 cases (286 000 bottles). By the time the first TV spot has aired (November), Arterra tripled their sales and topped a 71 700 cases sold (860 000 bottles). *
Campaign spend vs. history and competition:
Pre-existing Brand momentum:
The price of Bù wines on the shelves did not have any short-term promotion going on at the moment of the launch, but yet, In just 10 months, Bù sales surpassed the Year 2 objective with 187,000 cases shipped and 2.16 million bottles sold.
Changes in Distribution/Availability:
Unusual Promotional Activity:
Any other factors: