Applejack Wine & Spirits

How to profitably grow North America’s largest wine & liquor retailer in a very competitive environment

Challenge: Contemporize a very successful almost 50-year old family-owned wine and liquor retailer and develop a marketing program to take their business to a new level.

Solution: Developed brand positioning, new corporate identity, an advertising campaign built around the proprietor “Alan” (a recognized fixture of the business), and a promotional advertising approach that did not rely on line after line of item and price that is typical of the business. Promotional techniques used by EMG in other retail categories helped introduce a series of themed events and store-wide sales. Utilized regulatory smarts, in a highly regulated industry, to actively engage wineries, breweries and distillers into the marketing activities.

Rationale: Having a communication approach that drove customers to the store to see how good the deal was (vs. listing it line by line for them), created interest and excitement. Making bold creative changes to a very “generic” industry, where there is little difference among stores, clearly set Applejack apart from the competition.

Results: The promotional approach to advertising resulted in the biggest two-week sales event in the company’s history. The brand imagery, promotional approach, and caricatures of “Alan” are all still a fixture of the Applejack marketing efforts today.

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