Yellow Tail to Face Challenge From 'Three-Dolla Koala'

Showdown Comes as Australian Wine Brand Shifts Creative to Burns Group From C-K

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CHICAGO ( -- Yellow Tail is shifting its creative duties to the Burns Group, New York, from Cramer-Krasselt, New York.

Yellow Tail worked with Cramer-Krasselt on the 'Tails' campaign.
Yellow Tail worked with Cramer-Krasselt on the 'Tails' campaign.
The move comes as Yellow Tail, which has grown into the largest imported wine in the U.S. by volume since its 2001 launch, is gearing up for what could be its most significant competitive test yet. Fred Franzia, whose Bronco Wine Co. produces the Charles Shaw line of California wines -- also known as "Two Buck Chuck" -- is preparing to launch a line of $2.99 Australian wines called "Down Under," which will employ the slogan "three-dolla koala."

Price wars?
"It's time that the American consumer paid the correct price for Australian wine," Mr. Franzia said in a recent interview with Australian paper Adelaide Now.

"We're confident that the Burns Group can help us defend our leadership position and take [Yellow Tail] to an even higher level of success," said Isabelle McDonnell, director of marketing for Yellow Tail's U.S. importer, W.J. Deutsch & Sons.

In an interview this morning, Burns Group Managing Partner Mike Burns said the agency switch wasn't prompted by concerns about the competition, noting that Yellow Tail has already inspired a slew of imitators in the sub-$10 category it dominates, including Little Penguin and Barefoot Wines.

He said the agency's primary task would be to shift the brand's marketing efforts from merely creating brand awareness, which it achieved in spades under C-K, to growing "brand affinity."

"We're going to delight and surprise consumers with every interaction," he said. "Broadcast is going to be a key component."

What TV push could mean
A broadcast push would suggest an increase in spending for a marketer that has cut back dramatically in recent years. According to TNS Media Intelligence, Yellow Tail spent $4.3 million on measured media last year, down from $10.3 million only two years earlier, when it was among the heaviest-spending wine brands in the U.S.

The account had gone dormant at C-K last fall.

In a statement, a C-K spokeswoman said: "While Cramer-Krasselt hasn't worked with Yellow Tail since August 2008 due to changes in spending and compensation, C-K enjoyed our three-year partnership and takes great pride in the 'Tails' campaign, which helped them become the country's No. 1 imported wine."

The split with Yellow Tail follows C-K's recent loss of creative duties on beer brand Corona Light to Publicis, New York, and also media duties on Corona Extra, Corona Light and Modelo Especial, which are going into review later this summer.

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