Lucy Auld – Freixenet Copestick

Lucy Auld – Freixenet Copestick

Lucy Auld is Head of Marketing at Freixenet Copestick, a leading wine business formed when Freixenet UK and Copestick Murray merged just over a year ago. Previously, she was working at Copestick Murray and before that she built up her passion for marketing across a mix of roles covering London Zoo, FMCG and fashion. She is very happy to be working in wine and describes it as “a fantastic industry and super exciting.” With her team, Lucy is responsible for marketing the three core pillar brands: Freixenet, i heart Wines and Mionetto prosecco. With the backing and resources of Henkell Freixenet, the parent Group, there are opportunities to say and do new things for the brands.

Creative success

Lucy: “2019 was a breakthrough year in terms of creative output for all three brands, enabling them to really ‘get out there’, moving awareness and penetration in the right direction.” For the first time, i heart Wines and, for the first time in 9 years, Freixenet were able to broadcast ads on TV supported by VOD campaigns to extend the reach and frequency. The campaigns were then seen all the way through the line to in-store and social media. Lucy: “We wanted to make sure the brands were visible on the shelf at the same time they were on TV.”

In order to reach the desired KPI impact, it was important for Lucy to limit wastage and be very considered in targeting. She explains: “Media planning was crucial in order to connect with the right consumer audience and to get hero spots on relevant, mainstream shows. This also helped getting the brand talked about, building up earned media too.” This was a massive achievement for Lucy and the team. The TV work in particular delivered very strong ROI – both brands made year on year gains in awareness and penetration.

The Mionetto prosecco brand also enjoyed a successful 2019, using creative content in a very different way. Lucy: “It was a PR-lead campaign that was seeded out through press and digital. It got picked up by Yahoo, journalists and influencers, giving a huge boost to the reach.” The content was driven by a compelling piece of consumer insight on the ‘sweet spot’ time for popping open a bottle of prosecco, which was found to be 6:58 pm. Lucy: “We call this ‘prosecco o’clock’. It really resonated and we want to continue the traction and start owning that occasion. From a very small budget, the brand made some huge gains.”

The role of research

Lucy values research: “I’d love to use it more, but we can’t always do it robustly for everything we produce.  We often have to take a call on what we think will work and go with our instincts. At the end of the day, we have to make difficult choices on where and how we spend our budgets.” A recent example saw the 2019 Freixenet campaign go through a pre-test with the TV creative near completion. Lucy: “The goal was to get reassurance on spending money on a TVC that would resonate with consumers and not annoy anyone.” Wine can be quite a passive category, so it was important for Lucy to see activation coming through via purchase intention.

The consumer connection via research is key for i heart Wines. Lucy explains: “We’ve given the brand the job to make wine more accessible, more enjoyable and easier for mainstream consumers to navigate. Research also helps with the sell-in to the trade, getting retailers closer to consumers. There is a lot of knowledge among buyers at the retailers but that is definitely not matched in the mainstream consumer.” 

Biggest challenges

The primary challenge for all three brands is clear for Lucy: “We are fighting for space in the minds of consumers. We don’t have the same budgets that mainstream beer and spirits brands enjoy so we have to do things differently to get on the radar of our audience.” The brands are also challenged to grow penetration, getting more people to purchase. The success of the recent campaigns has got the brands moving in the right direction on the KPIs and Lucy is better equipped to take on these challenges.

Lucy reflects that developments in the past 5 to 10 years have put pressure on wine brands to become a lot more commercially minded. Lucy explains: “Retailers are having an influence, driving wine brands to behave more like FMCG brands. In addition, the wine category has been attracting marketing talent from different industries bringing new perspectives. If you also take into account that the wine category is highly fragmented, we are operating in a very competitive environment.” To play in that arena, the brands have to be creative, from the strategic plan right through to the delivery of every piece of marketing output. Lucy: “Every pound spent has to count. Effectiveness and ROI are vital for us.”

The current situation

For the Freixenet Copestick brands, and indeed all alcoholic drinks brands, the closure of on-trade venues is a huge blow. After a successful 2019, this was particularly tough for the three core brands.  However, Lucy was keen not to lose momentum: “We’ve been using social media to connect with consumers in a sympathetic way with the right tone of voice and no hard sell. We set out to ask questions and listen. At first, they didn’t want to hear too much from us, but this progressed into wanting to get inspiration for cocktails, sharing funny stories and most recently tastings and food pairings.” Lucy also sees the potential to develop ‘Prosecco o’clock’ events. 

This approach has led the i heart Wines brand to achieve more creative success, this time in an activation based on their work of personalising bottles. It has been adapted for key workers and is called ‘i heart Superheroes’. Lucy: “It’s such a great campaign.  Via social media we asked our followers to nominate their key worker superheroes and in return we would send a bottle of ‘i heart Superheroes’ prosecco to 2,500 of them.  The response was overwhelming with thousands of amazing nominations and incredible and inspirational individuals.  We have been inundated with requests to produce more bottles so in response to consumer and trade demand we have extended it into stores and have produced a small run of these limited-edition bottles”.