Fireside / November 2014

Marketing Lessons from French Wine

Yesterday evening, the Wireside team attended the Richmond Ad Club’s annual Beaujolais Day wine event, thanks to the generous hosts, Big River Advertising.  Some of us were new to not only the event, but to the greater meaning of the day itself, and were surprised to learn that Beaujolais nouveau is a red wine made from Gamay grapes in the Beaujolais region of France, made popular by its “first harvest” tradition.  Unlike typical fermentation periods, Beaujolais nouveau ferments for only a few weeks before it’s bottled for sale on the third Thursday of November.  As France’s first mass export of the year, the wine’s first stop is Paris, where it is henceforth distributed to cities around the world and raises national wine consumption rates by staggering folds.Beaujolais Day Post Image

On a more scientific note, because of its young age, Beaujolais nouveau has a tangier and fruitier taste than the average red, almost resembling a white – not exactly what most have in mind for cold weather sipping.  Yet millions of people worldwide go to surprising ends, despite the cold, to get the first tastes of the first harvest.  Last year, according to BusinessInsider, Japan alone imported 7.9 million of the approximate 65 million bottles distributed, even though the wine has been often critiqued as “a very rude wine – very young and spirited,” and overproduced with little care for quality.

That’s what we call a major achievement in marketing and promotion.

Perhaps it’s a bandwagon effect, knowing millions of others around the world are sharing in this tradition at the same moment as yourself.  Maybe it’s an effect of novelty or the atypical: a red wine that tastes better chilled.  If you happen to be drinking outside as they do in some villages of France, it need not be sipped, but rather gulped, to keep the bodies warm and the parties going.  Perhaps it’s an effect of prestige: the fact that Beaujolais nouveau is the kick-off of French wine, which has a reigning reputation as some of the best in the world.  More than likely, it’s a combination of all these reasons.

You can’t blame a bunch of marketing, PR and ad folks for celebrating these social and behavioral effects as much as we celebrate the wine and tradition itself.  Mastering and understanding them are what keep us in business, and what keep us not just looking forward, but ahead of the curve.  And, as the ancient Greeks said, “In vino veritas” – in wine, there is truth.

And on that note, from our business to yours, we wish you, your colleagues and families a truly happy and warm start to the festive season!

How Did Forbes & BusinessWeek Rank YOUR City?

Over the past year or so, the great city of Richmond has made itself better known by earning placement on dozens of publications’ “best cities” lists, developed to inform readers on where the bests spots for food, culture, education or market opportunity are hidden across the globe.  For examples, see Parade’s Best and Worst Cities for Celebrating the 4th of July, The Huffington Post’s 8 ‘Under-the-Radar’ Foodies Cities worldwide, and’s Best American Riverfront Cities, where Richmond respectively ranked #1, #6 and #10.


Maybe you’ve seen RVA’s skyline pop up on such a list or two, but what you may not know is how Richmond – geographically and culturally nestled somewhere between north and south, political and civic, urban and rural – has achieved a citywide rebrand in just a few short years.  Or better yet, what it has to offer against the larger American “meccas” in this competitive global economy.

Allow us River City dwellers to proudly turn that key for you and unlock just a few of our headquartering city’s secrets, with the help of some of the biggest names in media and research:

  • According to, Richmond is the principal prospect for finding business or a partner to propel your company forward. As the capitol of the #1 State for Business, we tout “business-friendly government policies and strong incentive offerings,” and a thriving market for the technology industry.  9.8% of Virginia’s private sector workforce is tech-based, and job creation has experienced a surge with data center construction, expansion and management – which also means Wireside is aptly located for success in B2B, high-tech public relations.
  • And here is what makes those abovementioned points possible: according to the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research, Richmond is the happiest city in the country.  It makes good, practical sense; businesses thrive where people thrive.  While economic giant New York City landed city #1 for unhappiest, Richmond was “topping the table” for most content, “a ‘glass half-full’ town.”

So ask yourself: How’s your business – half-empty or half-full?  Here’s a better question: How can Richmond help?



Photo by and courtesy of Tim Wilson/Fine Art America.