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August 26, 2005

we want to be part of something

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Excellent points by Technogoogles about the Stromhoek Blogger's Wine Freebie:

I've been following Hugh's sideline, ie new client, with interest. He's levereging his muscle in the blogo-world to generate some PR for a wine called Stormhoek by giving away free samples and asking people to comment upon the wine in their blogs - and in doing so creating some 'marketing disruption' [his term, not mine]. It's the marketing as conversation thing. However, what Hugh and Stormhoek are doing is circumventing that period where 'use' grows into 'advocacy' and by doing so it risks being just another ad campaign albeit one using a different 'channel' and a slightly different method. Advocacy is different from buzz and High risks not so much 'disrupting' marketing as being very much part of the 'push' marketing machine.
Fair enough. So I left the following in the comments:
Sure, wouldn't we all love the blogosphere to be magically turned into product pimps. But that would be too easy, too predictable.

Not to mention, ineffective.

What's more interesting to me, and more part of the long term plan, is not using bloggers as an external advertising mechanism.

What's far more interesting to me is how this interaction with the blogosphere will affect the internal conversation... how it will affect the internal culture of Stormhoek itself.

In the Hughtrain, I wrote "the future of advertising is internal". This is what I'm talking about.

The story isn't, "Buy this product so you can be more like us", which is what typical 'cool' brands try to do. We want to be more like them, not the other way around. We dig what's happening in the 'Sphere, and we want to be part of it.

So it's more about "outreach" than "selling".

i.e. We want the conversation to move from the external to the internal, not the usual "firehose" mass media internal-to-external.

That's the plan, anyway. And yeah, I agree, there is some risk. But you got to try these things.

Some time ago Jeff Jarvis wrote, to paraphrase, the future of marketing is not, "Here's why you should buy our stuff, but more "We're interested in the same things you're interested in."

Like I said, it's all about Outreach. It's about wanting to be part of something interesting, something larger than the actual product.

That being said, it's early days in this brave new world of ours. And I'm interested in finding out what the edges are. The only way to do that is by trying out different ideas. Some work better than others.

But it's something I (and a lot of my readers) find endlessly fascinating.

[NB: This post was orginally posted on my main blog.]

Posted by hugh macleod at 2:28 PM | Comments (2)

August 21, 2005

cloudy bay comparison

Thanks, Dakota: Stormhoek is as good as Cloudy Bay, apparently.

Cloudy Bay is considered a great New Zealand wine, so I hear.

Posted by hugh macleod at 2:32 AM | Comments (1)

August 10, 2005

blogger's wine freebie, UK & ireland

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We've now expanded the "Blogger's Wine Freebie" to the Republic of Ireland. And the British one is still open, so if you haven't signed up yet, please free to do so.

Thanks, Everybody.

[UPDATE:] To see how other bloggers received their wine freebie, please visit the wiki.

Posted by hugh macleod at 6:13 PM | Comments (2)

August 8, 2005

yummy yummy yellowtail

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Beau from Basic Juice writes about Australia's major league hitter, Yellowtail. Very amusing:

Yet the holiday refrain I heard most often (seemingly every five minutes) went like this: “Where is the Yellow Tail Shiraz?” Somewhat less often I heard the same question with the words ‘Chardonnay,’ ‘Merlot,’ or ‘Cabernet’ substituted for ‘Shiraz.’ In fact I heard these words so often; I began to think my name was, “Sir Where-is-the-yellowtail.” In case you’ve been living on the International Space Station, Yellow Tail is an Australian line of wines that are selling like Wham-O boomerangs of the 1970’s. I carried out entire ‘Tail cases for customers. I had to restock the shelf every 30 minutes!

Posted by hugh macleod at 9:03 AM | Comments (0)

August 7, 2005

tech vs terroir

From the New York Times:

McCloskey could say this because his company, Enologix, takes grape samples from clients and extracts the juice to measure some of its chemical compounds. Then, using software developed by McCloskey, Enologix compares the chemistry of the projected wines with that of a benchmark example. The outcome is a score on a 100-point scale, analogous -- not coincidentally -- to those employed by critics like Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate and James Laube of Wine Spectator. McCloskey boasted that his ''thinking is in tune with Parker, Laube and Helen Turley'' -- the latter a California winemaker notorious for favoring big, fruity, intense wines.

Not everyone shares this taste, however. Many oenophiles argue that -- owing especially to the influence of Parker, who has been called the planet's most powerful critic of any kind, in any field -- wines all over the world have become more and more homogenous. The jammy, oaky international style is largely free of the tannins that mellow and lend flavor as a wine ages but can make it taste bitter or astringent when young. Yet these wines often lack a sense of terroir, or regional distinctiveness, celebrated by so many wine aficionados. Parker's most lamented impact is his popularization of the 100-point scale that is now employed by most wine magazines. The so-called Score has been described as America's main contribution to the wine business: a democratic, no-nonsense way of jettisoning the elitist jargon that veils quality from the consumer. It is also maligned for turning wine buyers into mindless puppets and vintners into sycophants seeking the favor of King Parker and King Laube.

But Leo McCloskey is unfazed. ''The wine world is so big today that without ratings it would be chaos,'' he says. ''The consumer doesn't need to know about terroir. He just wants to know whether a wine is worth $28 or whatever he's paying for it.''

I agree with the last sentence in particular.

Posted by hugh macleod at 8:04 PM | Comments (1)

stormhoek in spitoon.biz

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Very Cool. Stormhoek gets a mention in Spitoon.Biz, the big UK wine blog:

Does writing this - my part in the first UK blog wine promo - make me a Buzz Agent? Gaping Void via Hugh Macleod, sent out a batch of pre-release samples of South African producer Stormhoek's wines in an attempt to utilise blogs as a marketing 'word of mouth tool'. Personally I think it is a little early; Blogs in the UK are under-developed when compared to America. The British either dont know exactly what they are or deride them; but then word of mouth is word of mouth and website link is a website link.
Yes, it is early days. But you have to start somewhere.

But hey, look on the bright side- the meme does exist now. Now it's just a question of building on it. The UK blogosphere right now, Western Europe and the USA to follow soon.

Secondly, the point of the Stormhoek freebie promo is not to magically turn bloggers into South African wine pimps. The main purpose of this exercise is to make Stormhoek the first major wine brand to take the Cluetrain seriously. "Markets are conversations" etc. This freebie promo is hopefully not too bad a conversation starter. Time will tell.

Cheers to Andrew at Spitoon for the mention.

[NB: this post originally appeared in my main blog.]

Posted by hugh macleod at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)