Hardys Wine sets out to replicate Nike’s social media sparkle

Hardys Wine is ramping up its investments in Instagram, YouTube and Vine in attempt to race ahead of its rivals in the social media space and become the ‘Nike of wine brands’.

The drinks maker is integrating its social media efforts with print, outdoor and press activity after previously using the discipline in isolation. It has spent the last two years studying Nike and Disney’s strategies to set it apart from what it claims are the “light touch efforts” of rival wine brands using social networks for event promotions and contests.

Key elements from the strategy are being pushed through a below-the-line campaign, created in partnership with DeVries Slam, to champion the revival of Chardonnay. The stereotype of Chardonnay being an unfashionable wine has given way to a more stylish image in recent years pushing Hardys to educate consumers about the grape’s revival and inject a humorous tone into its marketing.

It is using Vine to promote the brand’s revamped personality online and also as a cost-effective way to move into the online video space. Two clips, the first of which launches today(17 February), will use distinct visuals with the brand planning to decide which one resonates better with fans later in the year. Vine content will initially be brand-led rather than Chardonnay focused before ramping up around the latter the closer it gets to Chardonnay Day (23 May).

The learnings will help inform the brand’s YouTube strategy. Hardys is developing a comedy series for the platform centring on a group of characters passionate about Chardonnay but who like to drink it in underground circles. It declined to give further details on the show but said it will be promoted on Facebook and Twitter.

Gabby Golding, digital manager at Hardys’ owner Accolade Wines, says the brand has found it challenging “sussing out” what platforms such as Vine and YouTube are capable of because there are a lack of case studies in the wine industry.

It is working with 50 Instagramers who will produce content from a pop-up wine bar due to launch in the coming weeks. Hardys is also planning to erect a social wall in the space to expand the reach to people who can’t attend. Content from the influencers will also appear on the Hardys’ Grapevine, a social aggregator the brand has set up to boost its SEO performance and provide a more informal place for visitors beyond its standard website.

The test-and-learn approach approach to digital has also led to the brand dabbling in real-time marketing as well as exploring how it can use mobile, particularly through gamifcation.

The deadline is approaching to submit your best work for the Marketing Week Engage Awards 2014. Entries are open until Friday 21 February and you can find out more at www.marketingweekawards.co.uk.

Readers' comments (4)

  • Never thought much about wines needing to join the social media trends, but I'm glad to see it's happening! I think it will be interesting to see what strategies used by Nike and Disney will end up being successful in the wine market place.

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  • The damage inflicted on the Australian Wine industry, and its shareholder equity, over the past 10 years by Treasury and Accolade (the parent of Hardys) cannot be overestimated or easily understood.
    Now Hardys is following two entirely unrelated demographic groups into social media?
    When will they finally sack the brand managers and bring back common sense and people who understand the wine industry?

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  • I have to agree with Neil. Instead of thinking 'what do we want to achieve' there they've taken the classic 'what platforms can we be on and who can we replocate' approach. Nike are inherently social. They have it running through every inch of their business. I'm not sure Hardys does.

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  • They say that 'it's what's inside that really counts'.. Unfortunately the wine may not match the consumer expectation.

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