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Brand Profile: Makeover in Blue

Posted on  | October 6, 2011   Bookmark and Share
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Blue Nun Gets a Package Upgrade.

Blue Nun is one of the longestlived, best known and most widely distributed wine brands in the world. Why tamper with the highly distinctive package of such a successful brand? “Blue Nun has maintained its position by constantly updating its appearance to remain relevant to the contemporary consumer,” explains Nick James, vice president, senior brand manager, Shaw-Ross International Importers. “The new Blue Nun label is clean and uncluttered, yet striking. It has easily recognizable links to the current Blue Nun label, but is less colorful and more elegant.”

A look back reveals that Blue Nun has sported a number of different styles over the years. It started out in the early 1900s as a simple Liebfraumilch bottled with a plain label. Wanting to stand out from the competition, the winery later designed a label which depicted nuns gathering grapes in vineyards. Customers began asking for the wine with the blue nun in the background, so the winery wisely switched the name to Blue Nun in 1923. Over time, the number of nuns on the labels was reduced and, by 1990, only one remained. Soon after, the bottle color went from brown to blue, and in 2001 the nun was reduced in size and again modernized.

Attracting Consumers New & Old
The current package is more modern, designed to entice younger consumers to the historic brand. “Blue Nun’s new design will appeal to the more adventurous consumer looking for a change from standard Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs,” says Tony Sapienza, the U.S. sales manager for Blue Nun. “Wine consumers in general have evolved over the years, becoming both more adventurous and more sophisticated, but at the same time looking for simplicity. While the traditional Blue Nun consumer is still important, we are going after a younger audience who enjoy fruiter styled wines. Many younger people do not associate Blue Nun with the wine their grandparents drank and enjoy it for its fresh, easy drinking style.”

But in attracting new consumers, is their a risk of alienating the tried-andtrue base who have been drinking Blue Nun for decades? “This is obviously a concern, but we have a comprehensive range of POS materials designed to reassure the existing Blue Nun consumers that in spite of the label change, this is still the wine that they know and love,” Sapienza reassures. “We will also be running trade and consumer advertisements to highlight the new label.”

New Look, Same Juice—Almost
Blue Nun fans will recognize the same fruit-forward, peach- and apple-dominated flavor profile, yet the wine’s slightly more refreshing style can be attributed to a reduction in residual sugar. “One of the reasons for Blue Nun’s longevity is that the character and quality of Blue Nun has not changed significantly over the years,” says James. “But the reduction in sugar adds an attractive freshness to the wine.” Produced 100% from the Rivaner grape which combines ripe fruit characteristics with a Muscat and walnut bouquet, Blue Nun is expressive on the nose and palate.

Two other trends likely to benefit the brand: the rising popularity of German wines and wines with higher sugar levels. Riesling is one of the fastest growing white grapes in the U.S. and 48% of all German wines sold in U.S. are Riesling (though James notes that Blue Nun has “almost transcended the German category, seen primarily as an international brand”). The increasing interest in sweeter, fruitier wines—particularly by younger consumers—is not new, says Sapienza, but the way they are marketed is: “A few years ago no self respecting wine brand would label itself ‘Sweet Red’ or ‘Fruity White.’ Nowadays several brands have successfully done this and are selling significant volumes. Blue Nun’s contemporary new packaging and German heritage will be attractive to this emerging consumer.”


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