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Pernod Ricard designs tough wine label for US

Pernod Ricard USA launched its first California still premium red wine brand, a 2010 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Syrah. Pernod’s global wine division developed the brand, Deadbolt, with Philip Laffer as chief winemaker.

The blend is wholly new and designed to capture the growing sophistication around the wine demographic in California mostly raised on varietals. These consumers are adventurous, confident ­­–– they don't know everything about wine ­–– and want to find their own way in selection. Both the naming of the brand, and the design of the Deadbolt label were critical to Pernod finding success with the launch.

‘The Deadbolt brand is about making your own rules and daring to be different,’ explains Chris Lehmann, executive creative director and general manager of Landor Associates' Chicago office, a brand consulting firm specializing in creative strategy, design, innovation, and naming. Enlisted by the wine conglomerate to bring this blend to California consumers, Lehmann says, ‘The name, the tattoo-inspired design of the label and the production techniques employed to bring Deadbolt to market all combine to express the brand's essence.’

The aggressive Deadbolt name was chosen to entice the male consumer specifically with the idea that women would also buy a label that appears more masculine. The Deadbolt wordmark is custom lettering commissioned specifically for the brand. Lehmann continues, ‘As we brainstormed various ways to visually evoke the positioning of the new brand, the idea of a tattoo surfaced. From there it was a no-brainer that we create a tattoo-looking wordmark. You can see how all the letterforms interlock. It is perfect.’

Collotype Labels in Napa, California, a division of Multi-Color Corporation, manufactured the Deadbolt label with silver foil that delivers in a couple of critical ways. Says Lehmann, ‘A bright, reflective silver foil like we are using helps to catch the eye of consumers standing in one of the hardest aisles to visually process, given the hundreds of small labels all doing something different.

‘Next, the silver adds a bit of sophistication. With a name like Deadbolt, the silver as well as the curves in the letterforms prevent an interpretation of being rough and mechanical – something to be typically avoided in a wine, obviously.’

The black pressure-sensitive substrate was coated with a matte varnish while the Deadbolt letters have embossing and a spot gloss varnish to add pop, helping the brand to stand out on the shelf. Initially stakeholders had thought about screen printing directly on the bottle, but the costing didn’t make sense. A clear label material was also tested, but did not give the ‘permanent’ look that the brand called for.

'Deadbolt's packaging and branding, from the cork to the carton, tell a strong story which we feel will really resonate with an adventure seeking consumer who is looking for something different,' says Lauren Simkin, general manager, Pernod Ricard USA, Wines and Champagnes.

The Wine Economist placed Pierre Pringuet, CEO of Pernod Ricard at number one in its 2011 Wine Power List Top Ten. The wine company is the world’s fourth largest as the owner of brands such as Champagne Mumm and Perrier-Jouet, Jacob’s Creek and New Zealand’s Brancott Estate.

Volume sales of red blends rose 19.5 percent in SymphonyIRI channels in the year-to-date through September 9. Pernod’s US wine volume was flat at 1.6 million cases in 2011, according to Impact Databank.

Competition in a growing red blend market:

  • Constellation — The Dreaming Tree
  • Diageo — Stark Raving
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle — Indian Wells
  • Coppola — Diamond Collection

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Danielle Jerschefske is Labels & Labeling's sustainability consultant.

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