DRINK – Penfolds goes (RED)

Uncork change.  That’s the goal of the new collaboration between Penfolds and (RED). It’s the first time (RED) has partnered with a wine brand in the global effort to eradicate AIDS worldwide.  When I think of (RED), Gap comes to mind.  So why not wine?

I interviewed Penfolds Chief Marketing Officer Francesca Schuler, who says, “it’s exciting to be in a partnership that has global impact and saves lives.”  She approached (RED) about Penfolds joining the roster of brands in the fight against AIDS.  Schuler worked for Gap and is familiar with that (RED) campaign.

“We wanted to find a partner who aligns with our core values of quality, authenticity and innovation.  We wanted to find a cause related opportunity.” So the (RED) project is with Koonunga Hill and Thomas Hyland wine labels, both value-oriented at $10 to $15 a bottle.  These wines are also widely distributed in the U.S., which is where the campaign launches first.

“We want to be accessible to both wine drinkers and people who look for an opportunity to give back in a very impactful way.”

Penfolds will be donating 15 percent of proceeds from these wines to the Global Fund, which uses the money in the fight against AIDS in Africa.  Schuler says (RED) taps into a new market, the Penfolds consumer, who uncorks wine several times a week, and shares the experience with friends and family.  “This enables our wine customers to not only share the wine and that experience with others, but also to give back in a meaningful way.”

While you won’t see the (RED) logo on the wine labels, Penfolds is planning on in-store displays, shelf talkers and other promotions to call attention to their wines.  Look for rollout of Penfolds and (RED) to hit the stores in March and April.  So on March 1, your Penfolds Koonunga Hills or Thomas Hyland wine purchase starts to make a difference.  They’ll also roll this out in restaurants.

There are two other big promotions planned for summer and the holidays, with the predominant color being (you guessed it) red.  Penfolds says the (RED) donations will happen only during these promotional times.  While that’s a good thing, why not make it year round?

Penfolds is kicking off the (RED) collaboration at the Palm Springs Film Festival, which is currently underway.  Penfolds is sponsor of the festival, and (RED) produced a documentary about AIDS called The Lazarus Effect, which was screened there.

Since launching in 2006, (RED) had raised more than $160 million, reaching 5 million people with testing, counseling and education.

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