Beer has always dominated NFL sponsorships and advertising, particularly around the Super Bowl.
Starting two years ago, however, Modesto, Calif.-based E. & J. Gallo Winery struck a partnership with the NFL to become the league’s official wine partner, lead by for their Barefoot Wine brand.
The world’s largest family-owned wine and spirits company boasts the No.1 selling wine and spirits brands in the U.S. – Barefoot Wine and High Noon – and this is not Gallo’s first major league sports sponsorship as the company has a number of other partnership deals including those with the NHL, UFC and MLP.
To learn more, we connected with Gallo’s VP, Marketing and Media Investment, Amy Lund, who approaches her work as a change agent, and focuses on aligning Gallo’s brands with changing market and consumer trends, while leading product, brand and business development.
For our latest TMR Q&A, we asked we asked Lund to explain how the NFL deal came about, as well as how activations with Donna Kelce and Issa Rare have accelerated consumer engagement, awareness and purchase.
Below is our interview, edited for length and clarity.
Team Marketing Report: With the NFL, and Super Bowl in particular, we think amazing beer campaigns. How and why did Gallo fit with the NFL?
Amy Lund: As an industry leader, our role is to welcome new consumers to the wine category in unique and relevant ways, and our partnership with the NFL does just that by bringing our avid fan bases together.
The NFL audience is a significant portion of the American population. For many NFL fans, football is more than a sport. It’s a way of life – a part of our social fabric with a strong sense of spirit, belonging and camaraderie. Football equates to spending time with family and friends, sharing stories and celebrating favorite pastimes. This time with family and friends is the perfect occasion for wine.
For those who already enjoy wine, we made it easier to bring wine to the party. It was especially refreshing for women, who make up over 40 percent of football fans; nearly half of all women prefer wine over beer or spirits.
TMR: Barefoot is the brand in the campaign. Why that brand?
AL: Football is a moment that matters to our consumers. Barefoot is America’s most loved wine brand, and football is America’s most loved sport. More specifically, the NFL is America’s No. 1 sports league. Partnering with the NFL is a way for us to be with our consumers in those moments that matter.
Additionally, as America’s most loved wine, Barefoot brings more consumers into the wine category than any other brand thanks to its long-standing efforts to demystify wine and make it accessible to everyone through fun, flavorful and approachable wines. Barefoot believes that wine is all about having fun without the fuss, dispelling the misconception that wine and football are too complicated to understand and should be easy to enjoy.
Barefoot partnered with the NFL with the goal of exposing more consumers to Barefoot wine and to expand the category to a new – football – occasion, regardless of your knowledge on either topic.
TMR: You have used Donna Kelce in campaigns and will again. How does that work and how has it gone?
AL: We have seen more emerging fans entering the football space than ever before this NFL season. Our partnership with Donna Kelce and Barefoot’s Bandwagon Box campaign was built around this concept of welcoming new fans into the category – the same way we welcome new consumers into wine. New fans had an opportunity to enter a contest through social to win a spot in the Barefoot Bandwagon Box during the Super Bowl rematch game [Philadelphia vs. Kansas City] to learn more about both football and wine.
And who better to welcome these new fans than football’s most popular mom, Donna Kelce and Barefoot winemaker, Jen Wall?
The campaign was extremely successful, earning over 360+ earned media placements, saw a 6.6 percent growth on the brand’s Instagram and had a 13,000 percent YoY share of voice increase during the NFL season.
Additionally, with the anticipation of even more bandwagon fans than ever before looking to enjoy the Super Bowl this year, there is a clear need to support all the firsts related to hosting for the big game.
We’re partnering with Donna Kelce again to support us in helping new fans host their first Super Bowl party by sharing her favorite dishes, providing hosting tips/tricks, pairings to match her favorite Barefoot Wine, and education on game-day related topics.
Both campaigns are helping us reach and educate new consumers, in a fun way, on wine and football. Finding some blank space in the emerging fan segment showed us that both wine and football can be complicated, but we have an opportunity to show that you don’t need to be an expert to be a fan of either.
TMR: Tell us about the brand launched with Issa Rae…Any ties to sport coming there?
AL: Gallo is always looking for ways to democratize wine and win new friends for wine. Who better to help us with that mission than trailblazing, actress, writer and producer Issa Rae?
She brings an exciting new voice to wine, and we are honored she entrusted us to bring her vision of the perfect Prosecco to life – Viarae. Additionally, Prosecco and sparkling wine in general is a growing category and truly perfect for any occasion.
Speaking of occasion, Viarae Prosecco was served at the NFL Honors last night in Vegas and Issa Rae was in attendance to present the AP Offensive Player of the Year award to the 49ers Christian McCaffrey.
TMR: Two years in to the Barefoot/NFL partnership, what are successes with the brand and the football consumer?
AL: As a privately owned company, we do not discuss or share exact sales figures with the public. However, what I can share is that during the NFL ‘22-’23 season, dollar sales of Barefoot Wine increased 6.3 points* vs. the prior 52 weeks.
We also saw an increase in brand public opinion, consumer retail visits and purchase intent among our consumers as well as an increase in display POS in-stores during the NFL season.
*©2023 NCS. Barefoot SOND Sales Effect Analysis (Linear Investment). October 9,2022 – January 28, 2023.
To view past TMR Q&As, click here.