Elephant in the Room

Elephant in the Room Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Fiano, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Shiraz

Fashion 0. Flavour 10. That was the inspiration behind the creation of Elephant in the Room – a range of wines that were “old fashioned” in style – rich, big, flavoursome wines. Just the sort of style that Australian winemakers steer well clear of, but that consumers were wanting to drink, hence we called this brand the “Elephant in the Room”. Since its launch in 2017, Elephant in the Room has blitzed the market, with its Pinot Noir becoming Australia’s favourite by volume (IRI Total Market Data – 02/08/2020).

Our client wanted to produce a range of wines that were big, fruit-driven, rich and luscious. They wanted a Chardonnay that was “old fashioned” in style – full of rich and buttery characteristics. Just the sort of style that Australian winemakers steer well clear of, but that consumers were wanting to drink. Same too with the rest of the varietals: a Pinot Noir that was not thin, tight and refined, but a full, juicy, decadent wine to drink. So how to create a brand that would communicate this premise?

Additionally, our client has the belief that “In our brave new world, strict segmentation in wine marketing is a ‘thing of the past’, because great labels should have multi-generational appeal.” Fourth Wave also wants to create “compelling brands that inspire and engage both a new and existing wine consumer”. Key to this strategy is developing personality-driven brands that are impactful and appealing on shelf.

Therefore we needed to ensure that our design:

a) Could appeal to all consumers from millennials to baby boomers
b) Be engaging and compelling on shelf
c) Be personality driven
d) Would communicate the wine style proposition

We named the brand “Elephant in the Room”. As the back label copy explains: “Big wines with lots of flavour are increasingly hard to find. Odd fact is, winemakers hate talking about them and yet drinkers love them. There’s a jolly good reason: they’re lip-smackingly delicious. We think it’s the elephant in the room - or more accurately - cellar. This merlot embraces everything that was great about gargantuan wines before the style police took control. A monster of mouthfeel it’s big, rich and smooth (oh so smooth). Fashion 0. Flavour 10.”

The sophisticated Victorian-era illustrations combine with the edginess of the typography, with unusual yet sophisticated terminology for the varietal descriptions giving a touch of humour: Palatial Pinot, Prodigious Pinot Gris, Mammoth Cabernet etc. A simple one-colour print is combined with an A+ grade stock that has individual flecks of colour embedded into the stock, giving the brand quality cues along with the choice of a premium burgundy bottle shape. Finally, the capsule is intricate, distinctive and has excellent shelf standout.

Each label features the elephant in someone’s room, and each different character ignoring the presence of the enormous elephant in their room. Simple colour coding aids to the differentiation.

Elephant in the Room was the 2nd largest brand launch in Australia in 2017 (the largest was a private label). Initially aimed at the Australian market, it is now distributed to nine countries.

Elephant in the Room’s Pinot Noir SKU is now Australia’s favourite Pinot Noir by volume (IRI Total Market Data – 02/08/2020) but the brand’s performance is not just limited to Pinot Noir: it is regarded by leading retailer EDG as one of Australia’s leading contemporary brands with outstanding performance growth varietals such as Pinot Gris and Fiano, and similar success in traditional varietals such as Chardonnay and Merlot. It was Fourth Wave Wine’s #1 brand in FY2020.

Given the enthusiasm shown by the trade for this brand, Fourth Wave commissioned Denomination to develop in-store activation. A large 1m2 elephant head was hung in 120 stores to draw further attention to the brand and create in-store theatre. This was supported by a full suite of POS including shelf wobblers, header cards and posters.

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