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Millione launches to raise £1m for African schools by selling one million bottles

Published:  08 July, 2010

Millione is a new charity wine brand concept that hopes to use celebrity and retailer support to help raise £1 million to help build schools in Sierra Leone through selling one million bottles of the wine.

Millione is a new charity wine brand concept that hopes to use celebrity and retailer support to help raise £1 million to help build schools in Sierra Leone through selling one million bottles of the wine.

By using the strapline, "Are you one in a Millione", it hopes to encourage consumers to feel part of a good cause whilst enjoying a refreshing wine, a Frizzante rose, at the same time.

The Millione concept has been brought together by Action Aid and three well known wine trade figures: Jerry Lockspeiser, founder of Bottle Green; Mike Paul, formerly head of Western Wine; and Cliff Roberson of Buckingham Shenk, which has helped source the wine.

The wine has already received widespread retailer support and goes on sale on July 9 at £7.99 with a direct mail campaign through Laithwaites. It will then go on shelf in August in Tesco, Morrisons and Waitrose and then in Sainsbury's in September. It is hoped Asda will also come on board by the autumn.

"Laithwaites has been brilliant. Justin Howard-Sneyd got behind the brand straight away. But we have been amazed by how much support we have had from all the retailers," said Lockspeiser.

He said he was inspired to try and do something to raise money for children and families in Sierra Leone whilst on a visit there with Action Aid last year.

He came together with Paul and Roberson at the end of last year to create a wine brand that not only demanded a premium price point, could deliver consistent quality, but also tapped into the idea that it is "OK to celebrate" raising money. Hence a Frizzante rose, presented in a premium, Prosecco-style bottle.

They also wanted to prove to the wine trade and retailers that with the right branded wine concept it was possible to sell a wine at a guaranteed full premium price point.

"If you approach wine in the same way that you might a clothing line and create a brand that has genuine emotional value to the consumer, then you do not need to price promote it," said Lockspeiser.

The brand also had to have a clear, direct message to fully connect with consumers, added Paul. "This is a 'it does what it says on the tin' type of brand. It has been designed to do what it does."

With the majority of retailers behind it the next challenge is to get consumer awareness for the brand. Action Aid is embarking on a major consumer PR campaign with the support of an ever growing list of celebrities urging people to get behind what they say is not only a great cause, but a good quality wine.

These include Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, Hugh Dennis, Jimmy Carr, Alan Davies, Phil Jupitus, Jack Dee, Sean Lock and a host of other names.

"We want to get people talking about it, and asking retailers and bars if they stock it," said Lockspeiser.

It is hoped Millione could also transfer easily to key national on-trade accounts and talks are underway with potential partners. "But that is stage two," stressed Lockspeiser.

It is hoped the Millione concept can continue way beyond its one million bottle, £1m target.

"If and when we get to £1m then we will have a massive database of customers who would have bought into the brand. We will then ask them what they would like us to do next. What other wines could we introduce, what other projects would they like us to raise money for," said Paul.

It could even be a project that could expand out of the UK and run similar Millione campaigns in the US, Scandinavia and other key wine markets.

Lockspeiser said he hoped the brand could become a Wiki-wine, like Wikipedia, and take on a life of its own where consumers shape its future and. "We want them to own it," he said.
Paul agreed:"We have created a vehicle for people to take on."

Millione is being run as a non for profit business with none of the three figures behind the brand taking any money out of the project. Anyone involved in selling, promoting or distributing Millione is being asked to do so at a reduced fee, lower margin or in the case of retailers agree to provide in-store promotional support and point of sale for free. "We want them all to feel part of the project as well," said Lockspeiser.

* To find out more about the brand and how you can get invovled then go to