Best Collaboration 2021

After cleverly securing a partnership with renowned celebrity Graham Norton, New Zealand wine company Invivo & CO has managed to disrupt not only the New Zealand wine market, but the world’s as well. 

The Norton effect

The challenge

As a New Zealand wine brand in a heavily competitive market, it was important for Invivo to stand out from the crowd. 

Invivo saw the successful roll out of a celebrity collaboration model as a solution to multiple challenges in the wine industry. The brand looked to help potential buyers navigate the saturated market with a big-name personality behind the brand, lower the risk of innovation in merchandising for retailers (who can trust the celebrity brand for pull-through), solve the publicity problem as the public is interested in celebrity news and generally leverage the public equity of celebrity. Graham Norton was top of the list to approach.

The response

Invivo learnt a lot through collaborating with Graham – in particular, about the authenticity of the brand collaboration, rather than simply putting his name on the label. Graham has been fully involved in producing the wine in a fun, approachable and unique way, in line with Invivo’s brand. He is filmed in the production and blending process every year, which is then released for public viewing. This is believed to be a world-first: seeing the celebrity involved in an uncut tasting and blending of the product, in footage which is shared with media and consumers to coincide with the release of the new vintage. To further support the authenticity of this partnership, Graham has invested and has held a shareholding of Invivo since 2015.

At the time of Invivo x Graham Norton’s first launch, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc was continuing to grow in popularity in the UK and Ireland. But when developing the range with Graham, Invivo also had to look outside of the Sauvignon Blanc category and monitor consumer trends beyond it.

For example, they launched Graham’s Prosecco DOC in 2018, to meet growing demand in the UK and Ireland. In turn, sales in NZ of GN Prosecco grew by +212 percent in 2019, followed by 60 percent in 2021. Early this year, Invivo launched one of the first rosé Proseccos to market after the Italian government granted Prosecco producers the license to use pinot noir in their winemaking.

The result 

Since 2014, Invivo and Graham Norton have partnered to produce a wine and spirits range that has been called “the most successful wine collaboration ever” by Marie Claire magazine and “one of the world’s fastest-growing wine brands” by Richard Siddle, The Buyer. Over seven years, the collaboration has sold over 15 million bottles in 10 countries, bringing in approximately $90 million in revenue to the New Zealand economy.

There are now seven wines and spirits in the range, consisting of a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand Rosé, Australian Shiraz, Prosecco DOC Italy, Prosecco Rosé DOC Italy, an Irish Gin and a Pink Irish Gin. Invivo is set to launch three more new drinks with Graham in 2021-2022, including a marmalade gin and vodka. 

Category: Best Collaboration

Company: Invivo & Co

Marketing Initiative: Invivo and Graham Norton’s Own
Wine & Spirits

Marketing Partners: The Goat Farm, Augusto, Theivery

Judges’ Comments: “What started as an emerging NZ brand quickly gained a foothold in Europe.”

Finalists: 2degrees & Discovery, New Zealand Rugby Union, Hurricanes, Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders Super Rugby Clubs, New Zealand Rugby Players Association, Samsung; BurgerFuel & Hell Pizza; Fire and Emergency New Zealand & TVNZ; Fisheries New Zealand & Māori Television; Great Full & Bowel Cancer New Zealand; Health Promotion Agency / Te Hiringa Hauora & Dioscuri, Mapu Maia, Vaka Tautua, The Mental Health Foundation, Phil Siataga, Stephanie Erik, Tui Tararo; Invivo & Co; J. H. Whittaker & Sons and Bundaberg Brewed Drinks; Skinny & NZME

This article was first published in the 2021 December/January issue of NZ Marketing magazine. You can subscribe to the magazine, here. Or read the other winner stories, here.

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