Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Spanish Brandorama is How a Wine Giant Goes to Market.

You won’t find an aficionado’s discussion of Peñasol sangria on any wine blog – no devotional dissection of taste and alcoholic content. This stuff’s $5 a screw-top bottle at HEB.

Or, if you purchase the same wine from Whole Foods instead (where’s it’s one of the chain’s “365” products), you can enjoy this toothsome description:

Bursting with the sun drenched flavors of a hot Spanish summer, this Sangria is a refreshing blend of red wine, citrus fruit flavors, and a special spice extract. Add sliced peaches, apples, oranges, or other fruits for a delicious aperitif or try it with grilled meat. Serve well chilled. Sangria makes every day a special occasion.

It’s the same sweetened red wine as HEB’s and today’s lesson, about multi-branding – or versioning, as the Spanish wine-maker Félix Solís prefers it. Robin Goldstein, a great foodie blogger, covered “the biggest wine producer you’ve never heard of” back in May.

Félix Solís Avantis is humongous! Almost 53 million gallons of wine flows out of one industrial-size operation – but you can read all this on Goldstein’s Blind Taste blog. What’s important is how the giant wine-maker goes to market. From one facility and 10 wines, the company produces around 400 different brands and sells them in various parts of the world (the corner of Gessner and Kempwood, Houston, being one).

Goldstein points out: “Versioning” a product – varying it slightly and selling it under different brand names – is a well-known technique in marketing courses at business schools; among other things, it’s often a way of getting around laws that ban price discrimination.
No price discrimination here. In a market the size of America, there are so many price-points that Félix Solís Avantis can slot a wine into every category on the wine value chain and let a wide variety of customers sort out which brands thrive. When a company has so much “product” available, it’s a self-seeking, self-branding approach: What kind of wine do you want?

“Versioning” is at work in the retail gasoline market, but not where we can see it very well. For every branded gallon at Chevron, there’s a dozen or a hundred at non-chain stations…like HEB, as a matter of fact. (One bottle, Peñasol sangria = two-or-so gallons of gas).

Interbrand maintains, “Name changes of products and services are rare.” I don’t think this division of Omnicom had Félix Solís Avantis in mind when it wrote the White Paper.


Richard Laurence Baron said...

PS: This is a cheap, sweetened red wine, kinda like adding sugar to Manischewitz back when I was a kiddo. But worth a post about branding.

Susan Reeves said...

I'm Curious...
The bottle and label design aren't appealing to me. What inspired you to pick it up?

Richard Laurence Baron said...

Thanks, "Curious." It's all about serendipity - and Barbara, in answer to your question. She was picking up some jug wines at HEB and this bottle just fell under her hand.

Susan Reeves said...

good answer