Canandaigua Wine Co. is breaking a $12 million ad campaign for its Arbor Mist, the beverage that created the new hybrid category -- also classified as low-alcohol refreshers.
In a TV spot from new agency Partners & Shevack, New York, men at a pool party try to get women to give them some Arbor Mist and issue a diving challenge. It ends with the men performing an elaborate synchronized swimming routine. The tagline: "Can't resist the mist."
The campaign, which started airing April 30, Arbor Day, will roll out to exposure on all TV dayparts. In addition, Canandaigua plans a number of promotions on its Web site (www.arbormist.com) as well as online sales of apparel bearing the Arbor Mist logo.
APPEALING TO WOMEN
Designed to appeal to women ages 25 to 49, Arbor Mist is a lightly carbonated mixture of white zinfandel or chardonnay wines and fruit flavors. The product's alcohol volume is relatively low -- less than 7% -- and the taste is somewhat sweet, causing some wine executives to dub it the 1990s version of the 1960s' Annie Greensprings brand from United Vintners, or a product somewhere between wine coolers and Snapple.
"What beer is for guys, Arbor Mist can be for women," said Rob Vlosky, category marketing director at Canandaigua.
The new ads, however, are intended to prevent the beverage from being tagged a "chick drink," he said.
Arbor Mist sold a record-breaking 1 million cases within its first 100 days of distribution last year, and that success has produced excitement in the industry not seen since Frank and Ed sat on a porch pitching E.&J. Gallo Winery's Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers.
CATEGORY IS GROWING
The low-alcohol refresher category, which includes beverages such as Coors Brewing Co.'s Zima, had annual sales of about $1 billion in 1998, up about 10% from 1997, according to Frank Walters, senior VP-director of research at M. Shanken Communications, publisher of Impact.
Gallo, meanwhile, is starting to distribute its new rival to Arbor Mist, called Wild Vines. The Gallo entry will be backed with an ad campaign expected to be in the $5 million range.
The Wine Group also plans the launch of a product called Lyrica.
Sutter Home, now a brand of holding company Trinchero Family Estates, has entered the category with Soleo, a blend targeted to Gen Xers. The brand's Web address (www.soleo.com) appears on the label as an added inducement for the target audience.
Another Trinchero product, Portico, is targeted to white zinfandel drinkers and adds fruit flavors to white zinfandel wine in a strategy akin to Seagram Americas' Absolut vodka extensions with added flavors.
Portico will be supported with a radio campaign from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco.
COOLER INTEREST RENEWED
The renewed interest has sparked ad support in related categories.
Seagram Beverage Co. this spring revived advertising for its cooler products, with a magazine and major-market radio campaign from DeVito/Verdi, New York. The estimated $8 million campaign is tagged "It's what women like," and uses visuals such as a toilet with its seat in the down position.
The industry's hope is that the new products "will bring in new wine consumers and expand wine usage occasions," said Gary Glass, director of new-business development at Trinchero.
Overall, wine industry analysts have expressed concern that 16% of the U.S. population drinks 88% of the wine, prompting industry groups such as the Wine Marketing Council to try a generic ad campaign from Bozell Worldwide, Chicago,