Wine brands find their “youth formula” in collaborations

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Jing Daily’s monthly Chinese Collabs column examines China-related collaborations and drops that are transforming the luxury landscape. From local fashion brands to C-beauty, virtual idols to NFTs and KOLS to lifestyle and gaming, it offers a curated selection of what’s hot and the trends behind them.

Premium Cognac Hennessy recently announced an unusual hire: Jackson Wang, Chinese idol and member of K-pop group GOT7. The gamble has paid off and the campaign video has racked up nearly a million views to date. In addition, the Italian house Gucci has also ventured into the world of alcohol with its first premixed cocktail, the Elisir d’Elicrisio.

Big global beverage names are finding new ways to be relevant to the continent’s Gen Z market. For their local counterparts, the same is true. A long queue formed in front of the Moutai booth at the Mixc mall in Guiyang on Sunday. Why? Mutai ice creamthe first-ever merger in China between luxury liquor brand Kweichow Moutai 贵州茅台 and national dairy company Mengniu Dairy.

While there are countless Gen Zs and Millennials who have turned their backs on alcohol, innovations the collaborations are redefining his image for the drinking demographic. In this month’s column, Daily Jing explores the names currently driving the market.

Kweichow Moutai and others explore ice cream

Generation Z loves ice cream. The product offers businesses a gateway to rejuvenate their image and connect with this audience. The data of the Industry Prospective Research Institute shows that China’s ice cream industry reached $22 billion (147 billion RMB) in 2020 and surpassed $24 billion (160 billion RMB) in 2021, ranking first in the world in terms of ice cream size. market.

Mutai ice cream caused a sensation. Sales reached over $30,000 (200,000 RMB) in the first seven hours and on Weibo, the related hashtag was viewed more than 65 million times as fans clamored “drunken” scoops of ice cream. The collaboration has earned $5,891,886 (RMB 39.4 million) in media impact value according to the software company Launch Indicators.

On May 29, Mengniu held a launch event for Moutai Ice Cream in Guiyang, China. Photo: Mengniu’s Weibo

This isn’t the first time a baijiu brand has teamed up with an ice cream label, recalled Tom Griffiths, chief commercial officer of SaaS data tools company EQI Data. In 2019, premium liquor maker Wuliangye 五粮液 worked with bubble tea chain Heytea; Luzhou Wine Cellar once co-branded with high-end ice pop Zhong Xuegao.

However, Kweichow Moutai, the world’s most valuable beverage group, is a unique case. “He built such a specific culture around her. Alcohol is mainly consumed by sophisticated business people in their 40s and older. Now it’s a challenge for him to step out of that circle,” Griffiths said. Or a victim of his own success?

Quoting a small reportMoonie Zhu, co-founder and managing director of eTOC GmbH, which helps international brands sell and grow in China, confirmed that the value of sales of low-alcohol fruit wines increased by more than 50% over the past two years, driven by demand from Gen Z. While the market continues to be lucrative, it’s clear that hard liquor is no longer favored by young people.

In that case, it’s probably worth it for Moutai to break down young buyers’ prejudices of being an “old business booze” and get a makeover.

Wine and other alcoholic beverages are looking for young talent

However, ice cream partnerships are not the only way to reach young audiences. To find the “youth formula”, alcohol players have also sought to adapt. This month, Chilean wine Los Vascos has teamed up with emerging domestic coffee brand @once吉饮 to create a camping drink set — [email protected] – which capitalizes on the growing interest in the outdoors. On Xiaohongshu, he amassed a massive number of UGC instances. Launch Indicators found that it generated a Media Impact Value (MIV) of $7,666 (RMB 51,335), primarily due to its sophisticated packaging and must-have gear.

Los Vascos has created a drink box for glamping with @once吉饮 coffee brand. Photo: [email protected]

With fewer citizens currently traveling, Mexican beer Corona has teamed up with local personal care brand Rever 乐若 to recreate the holiday vibe at home with seafood beer and bath bombs. colored. The relaxing atmosphere Crown x Rever attempts to build to comfort consumers locked in their homes is likely to bring it closer to the locals. For Zhu, the initiative will help the two have a follower exchange and reach a wider audience, given their very different consumer bases. Indeed, an impressive MIV of $19,360 (129,660 RMB) was achieved by the effort, according to Launch Indicators‘ results.

The Corona x Rever collaboration includes fruity beers and colorful bath bombs. Photo: Rever’s Weibo

Fashion partners prevail

To make a wine brand look cool in the eyes of young shoppers and fashionistas, designer establishments offer good options. Ecco Domani x Privacy Policy is the perfect example of this trend in China. The contemporary wine company tapped national gender-fluid label Private Policy NYC to design its 2022 limited-edition Pinot Grigio bottle. The duo designed the container with the twinkling city lights and starry skies of New York with the aim of exploiting “endless possibilities”.

Private Policy designed the Ecco Domani bottle with New York’s starry skies in mind. Photo: Ecco Domani

According to research conducted by McKinseythe proportion of Chinese consumers who prefer to buy local has increased from 15% in 2011 to 85% in 2020. The CIC report shows that the market size for local designer brands would have exceeded $13.5 billion in 2020 (up from $1.64 billion in 2011). This may indicate that sales of the special edition will be lifted in mainland China.

“It’s great to see international brands collaborating with Chinese designers. It shows inclusion,” Griffiths commented of this intriguing union. And it’s clear that the association is good for the wine company, too: Private Policy can help Ecco Domani build brand awareness locally while infusing the effort with a global air from its New York base.

Last but not least, should beverage companies let the blind box wave pass? Australian organic winery Baas Wood aligned with Mengqi Culture IP toys — Milolo and Bear Bernie — to add a touch of surprise to their offerings. Not everyone was convinced. “I worry about the infantilization of the wine market, maybe they’ve pushed too much by partnering with blind boxes,” Griffiths added. For obvious reasons, alcohol and blind boxes have very different targets.

Baaswood has given a youthful touch to its offerings by collaborating with Mengqi Toys. Photo: Mengqi

With younger cohorts enjoying a glass of wine at home or in bars, alone and with friends, luxury houses should watch this trend closely for marketing buzz or even as a potential extension of their lifestyle category. “The partnership between luxury and wine will help both parties improve their brand image, create an enjoyable lifestyle and further integrate the ‘luxury’ label into all aspects of consumers’ lives,” Zhu said. . Certain collaborations may just be a marketing stunt, of course. But for successful companies like Moutai, whose annual sales exceeded $150 billion (RMB 1 trillion) in 2021the question he asks is not how to stay relevant today, but tomorrow.

The column also features in Jing Daily’s weekly newsletter Collabs and Drops – a 360-degree overview of the world of collaboration. For more analysis on the latest collaborations, subscribe here.

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Jean H. Vannatta