Sutter Home Takes TV Taste Test

SAN FRANCISCO – Sutter Home Winery is launching its first test-market TV campaign to see if television advertising can ferment its market share.
With the exception of the dominant E. & J. Gallo Winery and its multi -million-dollar ad budget, the restrictive ad budgets of most vintners have limited their marketing efforts and made TV campaigns rare. Almaden and Blossom Hill, for example, have used TV at points in the past.
But Sutter Home, the nation’s second-largest premium wine brand with $243 million in 1992 sales, said it made the decision to try television in the hopes of combining and intensifying the benefits it found separately in print and radio. Executives at the St. Helena, Wash.-based company said they’ve valued radio for its immediacy, and print for building consumer recognition of the Sutter Home label. For now, they’ll keep their ad budget at $3 million.
‘We’re going to look at the efficiencies and see if it’s going to pay off,’ said Karla McKee, director of advertising for Sutter Home.
Dave Woodside, associate creative director at Sutter Home agency Goldberg Moser O’Neill/S.F., said concerns other than budgets have kept wineries away from television. The fear, he said, is that TV ads for a company like Sutter Home might create the perception that it makes a mass-produced wine rather than a premium product.
In the ads, which will run in test in Houston, Sutter Home is positioned as a reliable and enjoyable break from the day-to-day frustrations of life. In one holiday-themed spot, a stubborn string of Christmas lights won’t disentangle and is eventually hung from a bare tree in a lump. The ads end with the tagline, ‘There’s never been a more perfect time for Sutter Home.’
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)

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