Barley Mowat 

Wine Ads and You

with 2 comments

It’s been 13 days since I last updated my LDB ad count. Seeing as the LDB just refreshed the ad list, I figure today is as good as any other.

So, what’s the count now?

Liquor: 2 (+1)
Corporate: 2 (+1)
Wine: 10 (+5)
Beer: 0 (+0)

Yup, not much has changed. The lion’s share of advertising space continues to be given to wine. Sure, I understand that one of the most important days in Wine Culture is happening tomorrow (Bordeaux Release Day), and yes, I agree that deserves a big ole whack of advertisting.

But you know what? In the past 13 days, BC breweries have released at least a dozen new brews of the pumpkin and fresh-hopped variety. These aren’t releases that are about to happen. No, these are beers that are in bottles and ready to be sold to customers. Did the LDB advertise them? Nope. Heck, the LDB isn’t even carrying most of these new releases at all.

Now, as “Ben K” pointed out on my last post about wine-centric advertising, perhaps the LDB is pushing wine down our gullets precisely BECAUSE beer outsells it 4:3, and we should be selling more wine, gosh-darnit!


An excellent point, and definitely one I’ve given thought to. However it doesn’t really hold up when you really think about it. Wine accounts for >95% of all their advertising, but only 30% of sales. Beer accounts for roughly 0% of their advertising, but represents a very comparable 40% of sales. So the numbers argument doesn’t support the difference. Perhaps a growth strategy is at work here?

Typically you want to advertise a product to expand its market base. The logic is that you only have a fraction of all possible consumers, with other consumers laying beyond your reach because they’re either not aware of the product or go to your competitors. Since the LDB literally has no competitors in BC, we have to assume any advertising they’re doing is to attract new consumers to a product.

Kinda like getting more bums to fight over the cheap rum.

Like it or not, good wine is an expensive, premium product. In periods of rapid financial growth, new wealth means you are creating new consumers for premium products. However, in recessions (like now) you are actually contracting the market for consumers of high end products.

A contracting market means that suppliers in that market have to fight harder to keep customers. This situation would be the perfect environment in which to launch a massive marketing campaign if you had any competitors. No competitors, though, means you have zero risk of losing people.

Okay, maybe there are new wine products out there that we need to educate consumers on? A new varietal, perhaps, or maybe people just don’t get that there’s good wine out there? While this argument makes slightly more sense, it also doesn’t fully explain their heavy bias towards wine, especially in light of their advertising strategy. Last time I checked Argentine Malbec (3rd ad), while tasty, was not exactly cutting edge.

But wine cocktails are. Curious how we don’t see ads for those.

Craft beer, however, meets all these criteria to warrant an ad campaign. It has a rapidly expanding production base, full of new breweries and new beers, is relatively unknown amoungst the broader public and, more importantly, is a premium product that fortunately doesn’t carry the same sticker shock as premium wine. Folks who have been recession’d out of the fancy wine market are ripe for craft beer conversion.

Yet, instead of ads alerting everyone to the fall pumpkin beer releases, we get ads trying to get us to pair wine with pumpkins. No, that’s not a joke. Go look (2nd ad). Mmmm… pumpkin wine. Next month we’ll get “Top 10 Wines that pair with leftover bit-sized chocolate bars!”

I’m not done my wine-advertising rant series yet. However, I’ll leave the next round of rampant speculation for two weeks from now when that ad counter ticks up to 15 wine ads to zero beer ads.

Written by chuck

September 28th, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Posted in Beer and You

2 Responses to 'Wine Ads and You'

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  1. Maybe the beer companies don’t have enough money to pay for the advertisement space? It’s really expensive to have a product featured in Taste, particularly in a full ‘article’. And possibly not really worth it for the breweries as you’ve pointed out beers are already 40% of the BCL sales…


    3 Nov 12 at 16:27

  2. @R Worth considering, but Taste is just chock full of ads for beer. Full page, half page, quarter page, you name it. Breweries and their importers are quite clearly willing to spend large sums of money to get in Taste, but are curiously all-but-absent from the articles.


    3 Nov 12 at 16:31

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