Accolade Wines

  • Accolade Wines wanted to drive short term sales whilst building brand loyalty
  • Sponsorship of Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me was used as a vehicle to support the 3 brands and reach the adult target audience
  • The TV sponsorship led to significant sales uplifts across the portfolio with  sales of Echo Falls up by 35.1% and Hardys by 12.2%    

The Challenge

In 2009, in harsh economic times, Accolade Wines needed to support their key brands. They were in a highly competitive market and in a climate where retailers were discounting wine brands and using wine as a loss leader to drive footfall in-store.

Their main objectives were to drive immediate short term sales whilst at the same time building brand loyalty so that consumers were willing to pay higher prices even when they were not on promotion.

They needed to find a vehicle that could support all three brands – Kumala, Echo Falls and Hardys – with a consistent message over a six month period. They wanted the brands to deliver high reach so that they would be recognised by the target audience and stand out against the competition.

In addition, they needed a vehicle that could integrate with point of sale material and on pack promotions within stores, would excite trade customers and drive exposure of Accolade Wines amongst key retailers.

Ultimately, the key challenge was about driving value of sales and increasing the price that consumers were willing to pay for their wine.

A further challenge was that Accolade Wines wanted each of the three brands to have different messages so that they would maintain individual identities throughout the campaign and the different audiences could be targeted efficiently.  

The TV Solution

Accolade Wines had previously used TV successfully and so they understood the power of TV to deliver scale, reach and excitement. Instinctively, they felt that TV would need to be at the heart of the campaign but needed to find the right type of exposure.

Working with their agencies ZenithOptimedia, Newcast and Craftwork Marketing, they decided that TV sponsorship was the most effective way of meeting the objectives. Not only does it allow support for more than one brand but also, by choosing the right property, can offer reach as well as targeting. Also, in many cases, sponsorship provides good value for money for brands, particularly when the association is maximised. 

Come Dine With Me was identified as the perfect fit for the target audience and offered the right environment for a wine brand. In addition, it delivered high levels of reach that were increasing with the growing popularity of the programme. 

Different sets of idents were produced for each brand by the agency Craftwork Marketing with only one brand ever on air at a time. Come Dine With Me tends to be broadcast across both the daytime and peak schedules on Channel 4 and More 4 and as a result the advertiser saw significant exposure across the three brands. The high number of TVRs delivered every week allowed Accolade Wines to out-shout all of their competition, ensuring that they dominated the wine advertising share of voice on TV.

Across the first 7 months, just over ¾ of all adults – 36.7 million – saw the sponsorship. The frequency of messaging helped Kumala, Echo Falls and Hardys Wine to grow front of mind brand awareness, growing the price per bottle consumers were willing to pay.

As well as the TV sponsorship there was integration across various trade channels and supermarkets allowing Accolade to gain traction in a congested market place. These included a collar tops promotion on bottles of Kumala which allowed consumers the chance to ‘Come and Dine on Table Mountain’.

The person responsible for increasing distribution among the on-trade stated that the “Come Dine With Me sponsorship in the on-trade has helped us enhance and achieve greater viability of our brands with buyers.”

The sponsorship was supported by press and PR which helped to drive awareness and excitement amongst the trade.

As a result of the sponsorship, significant sales returns were seen in 2009. These results, combined with the excitement in the trade, the continued TV presence and positive shifts in brand metrics meant that the sponsorship was renewed in 2010 and ended up running until December 2012.


The sponsorship of Come Dine With Me managed to meet all of Accolade Wines’ main objectives:

  • It drove immediate shot term sales across the portfolio with sales of Echo Falls up 35.1% and Hardys 12.2%.
  • It helped increase spontaneous awareness of the brands.
  • It improved brand metrics such as ‘a brand I would like to be seen drinking’ and ‘a brand that I am hearing more and more good things about these days’.
  • 9 out of 10 adults saw the sponsorship idents each year, ensuring the original challenge of getting recognised by the target audience was delivered.
  • Viewers were happy to spend more than £7 on a bottle of Hardys wine, helping to maintain the price paid for wine outside of promotional periods in store. 
  • It ultimately increased the value of sales for Echo Falls by 16% and Hardys by 10%.

We found that the Come Dine With Me sponsorship was instrumental in driving growth, sales and brand value for our wine brands, in particular Echo Falls and Hardys. It was a vital part of the marketing strategy and helped us to secure significant presence across key retail partners

Paul Hillier Marketing Controller, Accolade Wines

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