E&J Gallo Winery this fall is remaking its marketing efforts, for the first time using immediate members of the Gallo family as spokespersons in ads and, in a major shift, rolling product out on a regional basis instead of national.
The move comes with the launch of Gallo of Sonoma wines, a new tier of varietals with a suggested retail price of $10. Print ads for the line--billed as a "new generation"--breaking in the Western U.S. this month feature two members of the Gallo family--Matt Gallo, director of operations for the wine group, and Gina Gallo, winemaker. Both are grandchildren of the late Julio Gallo.
`A FACE ON GALLO NAME'
"We are putting a face to the Gallo name," said Pat Dodd, director of marketing for the Gallo of Sonoma wines. "Every agency we worked with proposed a likeness and/or the voice of Ernest Gallo in an ad," he said. "This is the first time a Gallo family member has been in our advertising."
In the print ads, the Gallos are shown in a vineyard with Matt quoted as saying, "Every family wants the children to do better than their parents." Gina responds, "So how are we doing?"
Copy discusses the wine's double gold medals at the San Francisco International Fair.
The ads from Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco, will appear in Sunday magazines this month and go into Western editions of magazines such as Buzz, Esquire, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living, Money and Sunset in October. TV advertising will follow later this fall.
Budget was not disclosed. Last year Gallo spent $17.8 million in measured media, up 40.2% from $12.7 million in 1995, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
Overall, the wine industry increased advertising spending by 12%, from $58.9 million in 1995 to $66 million in 1996, Impact said.
UNUSUAL REGIONAL MOVE
The regional move is a departure from the usual national approach that Gallo has taken in the past, and targets an area that accounts for about one-third of total U.S. wine consumption, Mr. Dodd said.
"The product will not be fully national until 1999 or later," he said, adding that "we will forgo expansion if we can't maintain quality."
Gallo, founded in 1933, built its brand on inexpensive wines mass produced at a time when Americans were fond of burgundy and sauterne. By the mid-1980s, when wine tastes grew somewhat more sophisticated, the winery was faced with the problem of convincing consumers it could produce high-end--and high-margin--varietals.
"Our challenge is to overcome doubts consumers have about Gallo to make fine wines," Mr. Dodd said.
Gallo has been attempting to establish a reputation for fine wines, first launching an estate tier of wines priced at $30 to $50, later followed by Single Vineyard varietals in the $12 to $20 range.
Despite family resistance, Gallo began dropping its name from the label of some of its higher-price offerings, and even began evolving new wines produced in Sonoma County, which eliminate the well-known locale of Modesto, Calif., on the label. Among those are Turning Leaf, at $3 to $5, and Gossamer Bay, at $7 a bottle.
SUBSTANTIAL BILLINGS FOR FCB
FCB has gained a substantial share of the winery's billings, including the Gallo of Sonoma launch, Turning Leaf and new assignments such as Indigo Hills. Citron Haligman Bedecarre, San Francisco, handles Gossamer Bay; the Gallo business at Dailey & Associates, Los Angeles, has gone dormant.
The Gallo of Sonoma introduction comes as the wine industry gears up for fall launches. Gallo's Gossamer Bay has new TV advertising in the works, as does Sebastiani Vineyards, which plans a campaign through agency Leagas Delaney, San Francisco.
Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, has two new executions in its "Here's to each and every day" campaign for Sutter Home Winery, which also is planning a fall promotion offering refunds and sales of catalog gift items where permitted.
Other wineries are also stepping up marketing efforts. The Robert Mondavi Winery this spring plans to launch an image campaign. Its current agency is Ketchum Advertising, San Francisco.
Even Kendall-Jackson Winery, which has built its brand on trade marketing, has hired veteran consumer marketing executive Ramona Capello as senior VP-sales and marketing. Ms. Capello was formerly VP-marketing and corporate development at Celestial Seasonings.
Copyright September 1997, Crain Communications Inc.