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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jack Hibberd

A leading brand consultant has urged wine companies to forget about expensive consumer advertising campaigns and sponsorships and concentrate on other, less expensive, brand-building exercises instead. Speaking at a Wine Intelligence Leading Thinkers Dinner, David Muir, group development director at Ogilvy Group Holdings said that in many ways a brand is bigger, much bigger, than advertising', and quoted advertising guru Jeremy Bullmore: A brand is built in the same way as a bird builds a nest, by the scraps and straws they chance upon.' Muir added: Our point of view on a product or service comes from our experience of it, what our friends say about it, how the press and financial analysts cover it. What it looks like, what it smells like. All of these are important scraps and straws that we chance upon when we make decision or form an opinion of a brand. Let me be clear. I honestly think high profile advertising and sponsorship is probably a waste of time and money for many wine businesses. These are two very, very expensive bits of scraps and straw. Instead I would encourage any wine client to think about some other scraps and straws.' Muir highlighted quality of product; the story of the brand; bottle design; point of sale material; retailer relationships and focusing the expression on the media that you have access to' as the areas to concentrate on. Leave Jacob's Creek to sponsor Friends and you guys concentrate on these areas,' he said. Chris Seale, head of marketing for wine at Pernod-Ricard (brand owners of Jacob's Creek), defended the use of sponsorships and advertising as means of building wine brands. The research we have seen, carried out in conjunction with Channel 4, shows that the Friends sponsorship has been very successful. As well as higher brand recognition we have seen increased knowledge of the varietal range and can be seen as the quality benchmark,' he said. We are putting equity into the brand and building long-term health. This is also about the the overall wine category, too much emphasis has been focused on deals, we want to drive value back into the category.'