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Marketing judges make about-turn

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When the smallest company in the marketing competition wins a prize, most people are pleased.

If this same company has the tiniest budget in the competition, it raises eyebrows.

When the marketing show’s main sponsor is a giant newspaper and this little trader has spent nothing on print (or broadcast, or display) it is a revolutionary surprise.

Especially when the prize is the Grand Prix of Marketing in South Africa sponsored by SABC, and the overall sponsor is The Sunday Times.

Stormhoek, the winner, is a tiny business, based on a beautiful farm in Wellington, with half a dozen employees and no conventional advertising budget.

Stormhoek is a ground breaker in new media. Stormhoek.com is far and away the best known wine brand in the world of wine sales and consumption. In the high budget world of international wine club e-commerce and national and corporate wine marketing, Stormhoek rides at the top. According to Google, after Stormhoek, the second most talked-about wine brand is in a second division, with far less activity.

What did Stormhoek do to impress the judges?

The 4 year old company has taken a major share of the medium priced market for SA wines in the UK and the USA, has made a significant impact in SA’s share in the Scandinavian market and is rising fast in South Africa, while brand exposure is exclusively through www.stormhoek.com.

Second, third and fourth prizes in the Marketing Excellence Awards went to brands with mega-budgets, the kind that the sponsors just love to read.

Will this kind of irreverence be allowed next year?

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