Best practice from Green Row Communications.
Thandi became the world's first certified Fairtrade wine when it achieved accreditation five years ago. An increase of Fairtrade wine brands had led to welcomed competition in the Fairtrade wine sector. Thandi wanted to re-establish themselves as the original innovators in Fairtrade wine and increase recognition of their brand as champions of fair and sustainable production.
The key objective of the PR was to increase brand awareness of the Thandi wine brand with consumers in the UK and Ireland. (So, adult male and female wine drinkers with an interest in Fairtrade, sustainable and / or ethical sourcing of food and drink).
In addition, there was a trade objective to raise awareness with buyers at the multiples and in the impulse sector to increase distribution. (Multiple supermarkets, Wholesalers and Cash and Carrys, Independent retailers etc.)
It was a challenge to create a story which would appeal to both target markets.
In a wine media landscape which is saturated in brands fighting for attention with wine writers we wanted to attract mass attention via an alternative route.
Leave the world of wine varieties, taste, quality and price behind and position the brand in a fresh new media territory. In short, take PR coverage off the wine pages and into the mainstream press.
Thandi is in the process of being given over to the 150 families that have lived and worked on the vineyard lands for generations. It has enabled education, electricity, buses to town and a host of other life improving measures and will continue to do so - so long as consumers buy into Thandi and maintain it as a viable, successful long-term business.
The company itself had no idea that within the very fabric of its organisation lay a truly awe - inspiring story. No gimmicks, no puff just a genuine and honest story which is part of every day life at Thandi. We immediately realised that the structure of Thandi was different from every other Fairtrade wine brand. So we took the focus away from the wine itself (the product) and let the workers take centre stage.
We identified key press to communicate with target audience. Four key targets stood out as The Guardian (for consumers) and The Grocer (for trade) and for Ireland, The Irish Times and the BBC to encapsulate all target markets.
We included the wesbites of these publications as key targets. We also identified a second tier of media print and online which included wine bloggers, general consumer media, additional grocery and food and drink trade titles and websites and regional radio.
We identified key journalists based in South Africa who would have the knowledge and physical capability to visit the vineyard e.g. David Smith, Africa Correspondent at The Guardian.
The centrepiece of the campaign was a full page of branded coverage in the Guardian and on The Guardian website. The BBC Worldservice visited the vineyard. The impact was achieved with the style and substance of the content of the coverage and this is what really differentiates it from your average piece of PR about wine.
Thandi has secured an improved distribution deal in the UK. Anecdotally, the coverage created massive talkability with hundreds of people contacting Thandi as a result.
The coverage had an equivalent advertising revenue figure of over £200,000.00 delivering a ROI of 14:1 and around 25 million eyeballs, predominantly in the UK but also globally - and increasing as the story is still twittering and being read afresh on the web.
Key coverage achieved included: The Guardian; BBC World Service; The Irish Times; The Independent; Hope FM; BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester; Northsound One; BBC Radio Stoke; BBC Radio Derby; Swansea Sound.
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