Monday, October 01, 2012

Mission VQA Neutered

The VQA Promo
A recent blog entry offered one person's view of how Ontario consumers are educated. This entry discusses the effect consecutive LCBO campaigns have on the same person (me). But first, a brief foundation for my argument: If Ontario consumers need educating are they empty vessels now? A rhetorical question.  

They are already buying just not buying Ontario wines . So what educates consumers in the first place. There is never a point in time when the brain doesn't have content... starting from the impulse to wiggle in the womb, an impulse to cry, smile or laugh. Later in life more sophisticated thoughts are coloured by innuendo, suspicion, fantasy, bias, adding and building on experiences from our surroundings - patterning thoughts and providing  the basis for decisions. Skipping to today's issue, a visit to an LCBO Outlet or receiving one of many LCBO Glossies that arrive during Summer and Fall months motivate consumers to buy. Do they change buying habits? Some think they do, but... 

Early this month we had a 'People are Talking...' campaign highlighting VQA wines. Today I asked the LCBO cashier how the sales of VQA wines were going.  'Great!' she said. 'It's really helping the farmers'. I said 'Yes, the grapegrowers and wineries'.  'Yes', she agreed.

The NonVQA/ICB Promo

With a VQA project already underway and with consumers responding with higher VQA purchases why would a Marketing team launch a campaign that diverts buyers to nonVQA and ICB wines? Seems counterproductive to me - but then I don't know the wine business. Perhaps the second is to placate another part of the Ontario wine trade? Perhaps the thinking is to pick up the others: the plebs, the paupers, the plonk drinkers?

I'm just on the receiving end of LCBO Promotional materials... and now I'm asking myself should I switch streams? Prices for the 'new' products tend to be lower, by a factor of 2. The words urge me to make a decision, 'limited time', 'favourite wines in large format.... with large discounts'. I walk back to the Vintages section returning my VQA purchases then back to scan the ICB shelves for a Dry White, 4 litres for $30! Mmmmmm.  No doubt, if I were planning an outdoor barbecue, a Bowling Association Awards night, etc. I'd consider alternatives to VQA. Anyone interested in a refreshing drink for supper, lunch or even breakfast can't help but soak in suggestions in bold print, poetic expressions and colourful pictorials/photos of an LCBO Glossy. Put a keg with a 'No-Drip Spigot' in the fridge and be set for a week. After all it comes from a winery that puts out VQA as well - can't be that different!

Variety of Choice
Earlier this month the Glossy was filled with 32 VQA suggestions - $15 to $20. Our attention was diverted to VQA from competitors found on other shelves filled with similarly priced Imports. Today we received a Glossy for Ontario nonVQA and ICBs. If I categorize Ontario wine consumers into 3 types: plonk (a term of endearment) buyers, value conscious buyers, price-be-damned buyers, each pre-dispositioned by earlier experiences, will they change their buying habits? The product choices are:
  1. Ontario nonVQA/ICBs
  2. VQAs
  3. Premium VQAs (Vintages)
  4. Imports
A consumer can't but feel impressed with the volume and variety of choice although my guess is, after a short spurt, changing consumer VQA buying preferences has been neutered. Some call it 'shooting yourself in the foot!'.

My opinion, Ww

PS. Ratings of a few nonVQA products can be found in an August 2010 blog. Perhaps things have changed since then?

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