July 14, 2011
Case Study

Brand Marketing: Party promotion generates more than 14,000 leads

SUMMARY: Neglecting consumer marketing in favor of trade marketing and promotions is going to have a negative effect on brand awareness.

Read on to find out how one wine brand used its first consumer marketing effort to reach customers with a fun and personal promotion, and generated more than 14,000 opt-in leads in the process.
by David Kirkpatrick, Reporter


Freixenet USA, a domestic wine company, created its Tapeña brand of Spanish wines about five years ago for the U.S. market.

The brand is sold in a limited geographic area, its total distribution is small compared to other Freixenet offerings, and it is pitched by the company as a "fun, friendly, social and easy-to-drink" wine. The issue is over those first five years, the Tapeña brand was only supported with trade marketing and promotions. Freixenet needed to begin consumer marketing to get the word out about Tapeña.

Looking to create excitement around the brand and engage directly with enthused consumers, the first consumer marketing effort was to recruit for, and create, a large number of individual parties in people's homes based around a food, wine and fun theme featuring Tapeña.

"As a company we were looking more towards consumer marketing for a lot of the brands," explained Katie Scharich, Marketing Analyst, Freixenet USA. "This particular event was just a good fit for Tapeña."

This case study takes a closer look at how Freixenet found hosts for the many parties, provided supporting materials, and collected consumer information from everyone involved in the overall event. And how the campaign generated more than 14,000 opt-in leads.


The entire campaign stemmed from a marketing shift at Freixenet. It created the Tapeña brand specifically for the U.S. market, but for the first five years, it only ran promotions for, and marketed to, the distribution level between the company and the end consumer. This campaign was the first consumer marketing effort for the brand.

Step #1. Use trade marketing brand positioning to determine first consumer effort

Because the brand was already being marketed to trade groups as a social, fun wine, and even connected to food with a "Tapeña and tapas" theme, getting the product into people's homes for parties was a natural fit to create both awareness and buzz.

Scharich said, "no one was really aware of the brand," so creating consumer awareness was a major goal of the first consumer marketing effort.

Having Tapeña-themed parties in many homes at once preserved the "Tapeña and tapas" theme with the wine and food at the parties, and also promoted the "fun, friendly and social" aspect of the branding at the same time.

Step #2. Recruit hosts for the parties

To help execute the steps of planning for, and actually throwing, all these parties in consumer's homes, Freixenet found a vendor with expertise in these efforts.

There were certain parameters for party hosts. They had to live within a certain radius of where the product was sold, so hosts were limited geographically to 10 selected states. Because Tapeña is an alcoholic product, hosts also had to be verified as above the age of 21 by a third-party service.

Recruitment was handled through a number of touch points:

o Email was sent through the vendor's database of potential party hosts

o The vendor also used its Facebook page to announce it was accepting applications for the events

o In the selected geographic areas, host applications with a URL were placed alongside the product on store shelves

o Freixenet included a call for host applications in one monthly newsletter

o Freixenet also ran a banner ad for the promotion on its website

Although the brand was not well known, recruiting efforts were very successful with more than 13,000 applicants through a landing page at the vendor's website.

"I don't think Tapeña itself was a draw for anyone in the beginning because it is not a well-known brand," Scharich said.

She added, "(Potential recruits) may not have known the wine, but they could see that this probably was going to be food, wine and friends, and I think they just drew on that."

Step #3. Identify the ideal hosts

The plan for the campaign was to execute about 1,000 individual parties, so as potential hosts signed up, they were screened with a series of branded questions to find hosts that met certain criteria:

o Women, aged 25-34
o Household income of $50,000 and higher
o Live within the selected geographic area
o Current wine drinker
o Described as "fun and outgoing"
o Have strong social media connections

Scharich said Freixenet was very detailed in selecting hosts that met all the demographics.

Beyond the numbers, Scharich stated, "We were really looking for people who were involved with social media, people who were considered leaders in their group, or people who introduce their friends to new things."

Step #4. Notify selected hosts

Once hosts were selected, they were notified and also told they would receive more information on party details and engaging with other chosen hosts.

- Provide a soft landing for those not chosen

Applicants that were chosen as party hosts moved on to the next step in the process. The more delicate marketing aspect of this step is also notifying those applicants who did not get chosen as hosts.

Applicants not making the cut were thanked for their time, and were encouraged to remain engaged with Tapeña even though they did not get chosen to host one of the parties.

One way to manage expectations and hopefully minimize disappointment is to make it very clear during the application process that entries will be limited and that not everyone who applies will be chosen to host a party.

The registration process from beginning to notifying the chosen party hosts lasted four months. The final preparation step began about one month before the actual events.

Step #5. Prepare for the party

To begin the planning process, each chosen host received a party pack consisting of:

o 1 Tapeña mail-in rebate for the host
o 15 Tapeña mail-in rebates for guests
o $25 gift card to purchase the wine
o A tapas recipe book
o 1 wine opener
o 1 pack of napkins
o 4 wine-tasting notes
o 16 magnets
o 16 wine charms
o Wine-tasting cards
o Decorations
o Spanish spices

Hosts were also encouraged to find and keep the number of a local cab company on hand in case any guests required a ride home.

During the month between host selection and the actual events, hosts could visit a section of the vendor's website and post photos, comment on the upcoming event, engage with each other and download party favors including recipes, logos and a game.

The main idea was to create a community among the chosen hosts where they could share party plans and work together while putting together each event.

The vendor also supplied an online invitation tool for hosts to use when inviting friends and family to the events. Hosts were encouraged to see the party as a social gathering where Tapeña was the guest of honor.

Step #6. Throw the party and gain marketing intelligence

The hosts and guests were all given pre- and post-party surveys on 4 attitude areas:

o Familiarity
o Favorability
o Purchase-intent
o Advocacy-intent

And in the post-party survey they were also asked about five phrases Freixenet had used to promote and market Tapeña:

o "Authentically Spanish"
o "Fun, friendly and social"
o "Great tasting"
o "Easy drinking"
o "Fun to share with friends"

Party participants highly agreed with each of these attitude statements, ranging from 68% for "authentically Spanish" to 81% for "easy drinking."

"A large chunk of what we took away was how consumers perceived the wine, and it was very much in line with how we have always marketed the brand," said Scharich.

She continued, "Having that information from all of the hosts and guests was very pivotal on how we continued to market the wine."

A main goal of the campaign was to create consumer awareness about the brand, and the most significant result was, including the recruitment effort and party participation, the promotion generated over 14,000 opt-in leads for future marketing efforts.

Scharich added, "We really felt like it accomplished exactly what we were looking for, which was to get people to see the brand and to taste the brand."

Another campaign goal was to generate social buzz about Tapeña. During the effort new Facebook "likes" at the brand's page increased by 86%, with a vast majority tied to the party promotion.

Other related metrics:

o Orders in states with parties increased 108% during the month of the party (compared to an 18% increase in states without parties)

o Over a three-month period during the event, orders in states with parties were 200-500% higher

o There were 993 hosts and 11,529 guests, averaging 11.6 people per party

o 81% of hosts and 72% of guests reported paying more attention to Tapeña advertisements after the party

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Useful links related to this article

1. Application email
2. Application landing page
3. Hosts' section at vendor's website

Freixenet USA


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