Cult Wines: Liquid Investments

Cult Wines is a family-run wine investment company based in the UK, which sought to build brand awareness in order to generate enquiries and investment. Working with markettiers4dc, they together designed a strategic campaign to deliver a tangible return on investment whilst overcoming several significant challenges that Cult Wines were faced with, this included the niche nature of the wine investment market, the perceived risk of alternative investments and also a limited PR budget.

markettiers dc advised delivering interview and comment opportunities for Cult Wines across a staggered period, building the company profile and brand recognition amongst the key target audience (largely ABC1, over 55s with disposable income to invest). Without sufficient investment available to fund new research amongst such a niche target market, there was a need to deliver a news/’why now’ angle for media. markettiers4dc explored various date hooks and the natural news agenda to generate interview opportunities for the Cult Wines Director (and former contestant on The Apprentice 2012), Tom Gearing. It was decided that we would look to deliver an initial burst of PR activity in April in order to build the company’s presence within the target media.

Capturing the attention of the target audience

The first tranche of outreach centred on the pension release at the beginning of April 2015, when a large group of people would have sudden and unprecedented access to pension monies, with the option to invest. Tom undertook interviews with BBC Cornwall, Jazz FM’s Business Breakfast and BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland, all of whom have audiences that index highly against ABC1 consumers aged 55+ or with disposable income. Subsequent to the BBC Scotland interview airing over the Easter weekend, Cult Wines received a direct enquiry from a new customer who mentioned that she had heard Tom on the radio and has since invested £10,000 in fine wines with them.

Finding multiple news hooks 

In order to deliver further coverage opportunities for Tom, date hooks were researched for later in April, including the impending birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s second child. markettiers4dc identified that there was a Sotheby’s ‘Finest and Rarest Wines’ auction taking place in the week the baby was thought to be due, at which they would be auctioning off a case of Petrus 1982 red wine. Combining the facts that Petrus is one of the most expensive red wines ever to have been made and 1982 is widely agreed to be the best vintage ever, the expected sale price of the wine (£17-20k) was used as the hook for media. 

Tom was also keen to talk about the 2014 Bordeaux vintage, due to be released this year, so markettiers4dc played on the fact that 1982 is the year the Duchess of Cambridge was born and the wine has increased in price from £450/case in 1983 to £20,000 today – suggesting that if people purchase the 2014 vintage this year, when the royal baby is born, they may well see a similar return on investment in 30 years’ time.

Opportunities were secured and managed with LBC’s Money Slot, Share Radio and BBC Hereford & Worcester. Tom also appeared live on CNBC Europe, showcasing two bottles of fine wine to provide added visuals, as advised by markettiers4dc. Reuters were also interested in filming an interview with Tom but needed a visually stimulating location and so we were able to liaise with a client of Cult Wines, the store Hedonism in Mayfair, to conduct the interview there. The content was subsequently picked up by the New York Times, Nasdaq, Yahoo and MSN websites amongst many others, including numerous US TV and newspaper websites.