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It Has Been a Long Time Since I Rock n Rolled

Zepplin_iv_1Crush by Dave Matthews

Lovely lady
I am at your feet
God I want you so badly
And I wonder this
Could tomorrow be
So wondrous as you there sleeping
Let’s go drive ‘till morning comes
And watch the sunrise and fill our souls up
Drink some wine ‘till we get drunk

This article on "Critter Brands" appeared on the wire today.   I much prefer the term "Adventure " brands, but, alas, it appears that ‘Critter" has become more popularly used.

This is the same story that’s been told numerous times in the wine press, and is now becoming a thread of conversation in various popular publications—Wine Enthusiast and newspapers.

"The average American consumer doesn’t want a big, tannic, heavywine that requires aeration and maybe decanting," he said. "People wantwines that you can open up and enjoy right now that are mellow,fruit-forward, kind of user-friendly wines that taste good and go wellwith food."

Annual sales of wines with animal labels or names reached more than$600 million last year, ACNielsen said, while overall sales were nearly$4.07 billion. ACNielsen records its sales data from supermarketpoint-of-sale purchases.

About 1,000 brands were introduced over the past three years, Bragersaid. Only about 400 had staying power - sales of at least $20,000annually. Of those, critter brands outsold the competition about 2 1/2to 1, Brager said.

A couple of new bits of information has been broken here, first that animal labels represented sales of $600M last year out of nearly $4.07B.  That’s 15%  That’s staggering. 

Well, no wonder we keep seeing the proliferation of off-beat brands. 

But, from a branding perspective, how long can this last?  And, is this a fad or a trend.  I would argue that it’s a trend with a shelf-life.

What can’t be argued is that these fun, quirky wine labels are flying off the shelf.

But, given that this wine is largely being attributed to grocery store sales, can we assume that its sales are primarily being driven by emerging wine consumers—folks, perhaps, a little less sophisticated in navigating a wine shop?  Can we assume also that twenty-somethings i.e. Generation Y is also purchasing a fair amount of it?

The answer is probably yes.

But, I posit that everything has an adoption lifecycle—i.e. a lifecycle—birth, growth, maturity, decline. Product Manager’s know this to be true, certainly.

Take music for example, in practical terms, this is spun a little differently, but true no less.

Baby-Boomers grew up on bubble gum songs before graduating to the Beatles.  Kids from the 70s grew up on John Denver before moving to Zepplin. And, my generation, well, the first album I ever had was Air Supply.  And, I quickly moved to heavy metal before reversing course into classic rock—Zepplin, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, et al.

What’s interesting about this today is that all the kids that grew up on Britney Spears (gratuitous photo link) are now buying so-called backlog artists the likes of Zep, and Aerosmith, Kiss, AC/DC, Steve Miller.

Blender Magazine, a youth-oriented rock magazine, and Rolling Stone both have a monthly feature on artists that have seen their best albums 20 years in the past.

Heck, Guns n Roses, classic rock to kids nowadays, has their Greatest Hits on the Billboard 100 list—from a CD that was released two years ago, based on songs that were released, at the latest, in 1991.

MatthewsAnd, even Dave Matthews has maintained relevance in the college scene for 10 years—a triple lifetime for an artist—basically because he keeps regenerating fans as college kids and their younger siblings simultaneously get turned on to him.

What’s the point, right?  Despite what Yellowtail says:

That’s the story of Yellow Tail’s success, said Roy Danis of W.J.Deutsch & Sons Ltd., which imports Yellow Tail. It sells for around$6.99 a bottle.

"If they don’t have a good experience drinking the wine, they’re notgoing to come back, regardless of how pretty the picture is on thebottle," Danis said.

"The ultimate reason why people kept coming back was because weover-delivered on quality for that price point. Yellow Tail’s successhas to do with what’s in the bottle," he said.

The "Adventure" brand that ultimately survives long-term will be the product that segments its markets by diversifying—because peoples taste grow and develop and as they move through the lifecycle with a product they have a product to graduate to—just like the Old Navy/Gap/Banana Republic model. I think Yellowtail gets this and is, in fact, moving to this model. Though, I question if they will delineate between the brands enough to create a value perception i.e. Old Navy to Banana Republic.

Or, quite frankly, the move from Britney Spears to Led Zepplin. 


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