HHCC Touts Online Wine Sellers

“The greatest wine online” is how Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos will position Winebins.com when the site launches next month.
The Boston-based shop has been working for months to develop the site for Gaerlings & Wade in Canton, Mass. The publicly traded wine merchant, which agreed in September to merge with investment firm Liquid Holdings in Washington, D.C., is now one of the largest purveyors of wine and wine supplies by mail and is licensed to sell wine in 28 states.
Hill, Holliday chairman and chief executive officer Jack Connors was introduced to G&W by Jim Curvey, president of Fidelity Investments, which is also a client. Curvey and Connors are board members and own shares in the company.
G&W reported sales for the first six months of 1999 of $17 million, 7 percent of which was from sales over the Internet. President and chief executive officer Jay Essa said he expects that percentage to rise significantly after the ad campaign bows.
The print, radio and online effort will target wine drinkers and Internet users and will run for two months, according to Hill, Holliday media director Lisa Berman, who declined to disclose spending. Print executions will appear in wine enthusiast and lifestyle magazines and weekly sections of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, she said.
“The challenge is to stand out in the category,” said Hill, Holliday creative director Jonathan Plazonja.
Winebins.com’s main competitor, Wine.com, formerly Virtual Vineyards, last week broke its first campaign from Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners West, San Francisco, with TV spots featuring the tag, “Buy wines online.”
Hill, Holliday management supervisor Jim McGinn noted that Wine.com’s positioning line could help Winebins.com, too.
Hill, Holliday Interactive created the Winebins.com site and will maintain it, Essa said.