The new “look” of Champagne is raising controversy

Mar 5 2019, 14:13 | by Gambero Rosso
Everyone loves Champagne: in France, there's now a controversy over the image of a popular Champagne, suitable for all occasions, especially the informal ones. Here are the details.

With a box of sardines; with a little olive oil and a raw artichoke; with a hard-boiled egg. In France, there's controversy over the image of a popular Champagne, suitable for all occasions, especially for informal gatherings, with a nod to the younger generations, especially those between 25 and 45 years of age.

Four million euro were made available over a three-year period for a marketing campaign, started in the summer of 2018, which ignited debate among the French. A fine elite wine, comes to a compromise as opposed to the sacralized image of itself, to meet the favour of a tier of consumers who, in regard to the most famous bubbles in the world, including France, know little or nothing: it's the millennials.

"Réservé a toutes les occasions", recites the claim created by the marketing agency M&C Saatchi Gad for the Syndicat Général des Vignerons (SGV), promoting the initiative intended to offset the steady decline in sales recorded as of late. Posters, social campaigns, 360 degree media outlets, tastings in wine bars. A very robust ad initiative, which also received awards (lastly the "Grand prix stratégies du luxe 2018", last December, as the best integrated campaign), but which did not meet the sympathies of the great fashion houses, the most important companies, which prefer something different, seeing in this type of marketing a double-edged sword: such a generic message cannot possibly create value around the product.

The creators of the ads have chosen the path of shock to convey the message. Surely it was the sensitivity of the big champenois to be most felt. Too soon to say if this will happen to consumers, too. In the meantime, the first results in the wine bars are positive. Is that also a way to curb the advance of Italian Prosecco?

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