A funny Monkey in Australia: new brand and Web 2.0

by Eve Resnick on January 6, 2009

in General

At the end of last year, I was contacted by Sid Patel, Marketing Director of The Friday Monkey wines from Australia. Since I didn’t know this brand, I was curious enough as to look for it on the web. The web site is clean, user-friendly and answers most questions of somebody who didn’t drink their wines and could be a potential customer. I especially liked their first sentence – direct and enticing: “Friday Monkey wines are drinks for any occasion; be it at home, a casual dinner with friends, or at a BYO restaurant. We give you the finest quality wine that tastes good and lets you have all the pleasure. ” As well as their closing statement: “Wine may be regarded as a metaphor for the spirit of Australia, reflecting the multi-faceted elements of a nation that retains the essence of its origins, embraces the new and distils both into a product of vigor, variety and complexity. Our wines are young, trendy and sophisticated.” The Friday Monkey winery produce the usual culprits: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Shiraz, Cabernet Merlot, Rose and Chardonnay. I liked what I saw and sent a few questions to Sid who answered very nicely. Friday Monkey is the new brand by excellence: well thought out and very well marketed within the Web 2.0 world.

How did you choose the name?

The Friday Monkey name was chosen with the purpose of gaining immediate brand recognition. Friday is the best trading day of the week for liquor sales in the United States. USA and UK are our focus. The sight of a cute monkey swinging on a vine is one which delights people of all ages. Combined on a wine label, they present a whimsical image which is readily noticed with irresistible appeal to the impulse buyer. Its name is easily remembered and describes the contemporary personality of the wine. It also conveys a feel good factor while making a purchase decision in the store. Last and not the least, it will boost retailers’ wine sales without them doing any hand selling.

How innovative is your marketing strategy? Do you use Web 2.0 tools?

We have a Facebook group page with 325 members, a group on LinkedIn called “Beverage Network” and we are on almost 50 blogs. We are not on Youtube yet, but will be there soon as we have just completed a wine tasting video with a critic. This is posted on our facebook group page for the moment.

Other marketing strategies include traditional tastings, posters, banners, magazine adverts, print articles, house wine programs. We also partner with ‘event’ companies and give them our wines to use for free (almost). Thus they open our bottles at wedding events, birthdays, corporate parties, dinners, etc and we get awareness. We also partner with clubs, charity organizations, etc. For example: we offer discounts to YHA members, South Australian Farmers Federation, University of Western Australia, etc. We also sponsored a global conference of the Australian Primate Society. We will be sponsoring an event for American Primate Society this year.

We are now considering advertisements on Facebook, MySpace, etc….but we are hesitant and working on the statistics as 25% of the audience on web 2.0 are under 21 (legally cannot drink) and it will more of a brand awareness program than depleting stock. Therefore, we still prefer print and traditional advertising in wines. Facebook allows and places your adverts to users which are above 21, so we may start with those.

Besides the US, do you plan to reach other markets (Asia, Europe)?

We are in a few countries but we have not really mass marketed them as the duty and taxes are very high. We are waiting for the local government to cut down some taxes and that will be the right time for us. As far as Europe goes, we will be starting distribution with a UK based importer and Finland importer in 2009. Due to the current economic conditions, we are waiting for the right time to launch as we don’t think that this is the right time to introduce a ‘new’ brand in a ‘new’ market. Thus till mid next year, we will focus on penetrating where we are.


1 michael.g.lee January 19, 2010 at 4:33 am

I absolutely disagree with your positioning here and in a way, flies in the face of brand strategy. One of the principles in an brand strategy is to occupy a positioning in the consumers mind, and when I see a long winded 'statement' that says the wine is a drink for 'any occasion' and then makes a 'finest quality' point, basically says to me that they are trying to cover all the bases here.
Am I the only one, who when walking into a wine shop on a Friday, would not have as a purchasing cue decision based on a wine that states Friday, its all a cliche, a bit a lady who upon putting on a black dress would be inclined to buy a wine that says Little Black Dress..

2 Evelyne Resnick January 19, 2010 at 11:31 am

Thanks for your comment, Michael. I understand your stand on a "cliche wine". It's true that mass market wines are sometimes a cliche but there are many kinds of consumers in the world and it takes many kinds of wines to reach them. To me, a nice well done brand is enjoyable for any occasion. Of course, when with friends or at a more formal occasion, I'd upgrade to a more complex wine.

I hope you'll find many wines to suit your tastes every Friday and will share your impressions with us.


3 randy January 19, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Just for a little grounding, I'm posting as a wine consumer. If I like a wine, I might write it down, but if I like a wine that has a memorable label and/or name, I will remember it.

"Positioning" is for the professionals, but it isn't a bad thing to convince someone to buy a wine based on some "cute" concept. Once they buy it, it's up to the wine to seduce them.

Most people don't go out without making sure they look a certain way. A wine shouldn't either, in my opinion. The "seduction" part is more subtle, just as clothes are only a part of attraction in social situations. They are, however, the "first sight" part. I've often remembered meeting people by what they were wearing.

I believe that today, visual impact and specifically memorability is the most important factor in introducing a wine to the consumer. That this won't and shouldn't work for plonk is obvious.

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