Spanish winemakers D.O. Ribera del Duero y D.O. Rueda have joined forces to launch a new brand, Ribera y Rueda (RyR), targeting US millennials by introducing high-quality, affordable Spanish wines via social media and local marketing.
The heart of the campaign, “Sí What’s Next,” appeals to what RyR calls “Generation Open.” Aged from 21-40, they are all about experience, exploration and social media sharing, so #siwhatsnext is being promoted on Twitter and Instagram, and a Tumblr page is the brand’s official website.
Currently, there are 62 million millennials of legal drinking age in the US, 51% of whom have visited wine websites within the past 3 months and 30% of whom drink wine at least once a week. What matters to them, according to RyR? “Authenticity, transparency and quality are what makes or breaks their opinion, and it’s definitely not about pretension, stodginess or barriers.”
RyR describes the brand attributes of the original wines from Spain, Ribera del Duero and Rueda, as “Terroir. Tannins. Mouthfeel. Minerality.” The “Sí What’s Next” campaign attempts to debunk the notion that quality wine has to be expensive, and promotes its consumption in a social setting, asking fans to share wine-tasting experiences in real-time on social media channels.
We chatted with Felipe Gonzalez-Gordon, Director of D.O. Ribera del Duero y D.O. Rueda, about the new branding and positioning.
brandchannel: Felipe, what has been the biggest marketing challenge in targeting “non-pretentious” wine drinkers in the United States?
Felipe Gonzalez-Gordon: Our challenge in reaching open-minded wine drinkers is capturing their attention in a saturated wine space, breaking through the noise to make our brand relevant to them. So we developed the Si What’s Next campaign to play to their sense of discovery, inviting them to explore something new: the wines of Ribera del Duero and Rueda.
They are looking for wines that are approachable and pair with their everyday lives—from sofa-bound binging on Netflix to a backyard barbeque. We’re introducing them to our wines by speaking their language and engaging them where they live and play. We’re creating conversations with them that showcase our wines’ quality and value, while not taking things too seriously.
bc: How does your marketing accommodate cultural/geographical nuances?
FGG: Our wines have a sense of place, and we recognize the importance of establishing an authentic sense of place in our campaign activities as well. That’s why we’ve tailored our activations to the local markets, aligning with key events and the local influencers who know the market best.
In each of these markets, we’re also working with local Millennial sommeliers known for their fresh, dynamic approach to wine, from restaurants admired for their accessible choices. In New York City, we’ve enlisted Master Sommelier Alex LaPratt of Atrium DUMBO as an authentic, approachable guide to discovery.
bc: Authenticity, transparency and quality you identify as key factors in millennial demands from brands. How does your current campaign deliver on these three?
FGG: Speaking of authenticity, in Ribera del Duero and Rueda, we have been producing wines for centuries from indigenous grapes. Our campaign is not an opportunistic response to the market. Our campaign is designed to help US consumers discover what Spaniards and the rest of the Europeans have known for quite some time.
A key element in how we’re engaging our consumers is by sharing the true stories of the winemakers and regions. We’re highlighting their philosophy of winemaking and the innovations and techniques they are using the produce quality wines. Social media plays a primary role in telling their stories, but we’ll also be bringing winemakers to the States so consumers can meet firsthand the people who produced the wine they are drinking, creating impactful, shareable moments for our brand.
bc: What’s the incentive for consumers sharing their wine tasting experiences in real-time on social media and how will you value and leverage it?
FGG: In the age of social media, discovering a new brand and sharing it with your peers creates social currency. Our campaign is designed to capitalize on building social equity by establishing content, conversation and experiences that provide consumers the opportunity to share their discovery of Ribera and Rueda wines.
bc: How has the rise of the millennial consumer affected the wine industry and its collateral marketing strategies overall?
FGG: What differentiates this generation is how they relate to wine. Wine is part of their daily lives, it is part of their social lives, and their wine occasions are key shareable moments. That opens a lot of doors and opportunity to engage them with Ribera and Rueda wines.
Millennials don’t rely as much on trade publications and scores to make their wine choices. They tend to get advice and recommendations from friends and online searches. The way they communicate with each other is through the social channels, thus our online presence is of utmost importance, but the key is that we’re not being prescriptive about how Ribera and Rueda are to be enjoyed.”
RyR wines will be served at millennial-focused in-market events and a touring RyR wine truck will travel the country this summer to neighborhoods like Wicker Park in Chicago and Williamsburg in Brooklyn selling the new brand as “avant-garde, nuanced and willing to take risks, just like you.”