JNSQ: The New Wine That’s A Master Class In Branding

As Adweek reports this week, “Little about The Wonderful Company’s new wine brand is practical.” I’d take it a step further. Little of it makes any marketing sense.

In the dead of winter, and a nasty one across most of the U.S. at that, the only two varietals offered are classic summertime favorites Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé. The bottle is ridiculous. Expensive to produce and not shaped to fit well on the shelf or in the refrigerator at home. They suggest that it’s “reusable.” Will they be selling JNSQ in big boxes with taps for easy refills? Named with the initials JNSQ, it’s doubtful that most drinkers could make the leap to “Je ne sais quoi” or understand what it means even if they could. Based on the liquid alone, “made with grapes from the Central Coast region and created in the classic French style,” the wine is probably way overpriced at $29 a bottle. A very “special edition-y” feel to it, a brand that looks like it might be a fad at best or a complete flop at worst.

I love it.

One quick look at the package alone transports you to a different place and time. Inspired by vintage perfume, the rounded, apple-shape bottle, with its glass stopper adorned with a ceramic flower, suggests elegance and luxury in the blink of an eye.

The ads expand on the vintage feeling, but with a contemporary twist. While most depict indulgence or luxury, it seems clear the women depicted here are strong and independent. Role models to modern women, though not in the expected career sense. Still, while focusing on aspirational lifestyles, it does seem that they would succeed in our contemporary age or in any age.

Women appear alone, needing no outside approval. The ads have a romantic, spontaneous, adventurous feel. The women are in the moment – moments they seem to have created and chosen for themselves. They are entitled in a positive sense. Headlines like “Get Away With It,” “Own It” and “Her Glass is Always Half Full,” communicate how positive and comfortable they are in their own skin.

Will it resonate with consumers? Is it “too on the nose.?” My feeling is that the concept will be very well received, trial levels will be decent, but that the brand is probably not sustainable. But my prediction is as only good as yours, and I hope I’m dead wrong.

This is confident marketing with no apologies. The Wonderful Company wanted to do something different and memorable, and they have succeeded. This is not just another “lifestyle” wine brand in a standard bottle with a nice label and the typical clichéd ads.

JNSQ is a truly differentiated brand in a world of generic sameness.

Other brands, especially packaged goods products waning away in the middle, graveyard sections of the grocery stores, should take note. Another line extension, another tweak, a new TV ad, a tentative step into the world of influencer marketing aren’t enough. Only big, bold steps, all tied together around the solid core of a unified marketing concept are going to break through.

There will be lots of causalities along the way. But better than bearing witness to your brand dying an inevitably slow death.





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