Château des Charmes winery toasts to QR codes

By featuring a QR code on the label the Niagara winemaker hopes to intrigue millenials without having to shell out big money on traditional media.

Niagara-based Château des Charmes may be a pioneer of fine vintages, but the winemaker wanted a contrasting, modern image that would inspire millennials to experiment with their wines. With the help of Fish Out of Water Design, a Toronto-based agency, the brand is wrapping their products in a new label that features a scanable quick response (QR) code – a first for a wine industry in Canada.

‘While it’s well-recognized that what is in the bottle is quality – based and rooted in tradition – we were seen as kind of stodgy. Really we wanted to show that we are still cutting edge,’ said Michele Bosc, director of marketing, Château des Charmes.

Lacking the deep pockets of mainstream brands, a traditional media advertising push to overhaul their image would be too expensive for a family-owned operation to undertake. Social media is much more affordable.

‘TV is out of the question, large-scale out-of-home is out of the question,’ Bosc told MiC. But if they’re targeting the younger crowd, that isn’t necessarily even where they’re going to be anyway, she added.

When scanned by a camera phone, the QR code takes the consumer to a landing page that features recipe ideas, tasting notes, food matches and an invitation for two to visit the Château. The redesign will be promoted in Wine Access and LCBO’s Food and Drink magazines, as well as on wine blogs. The brand will use the number of tour redemptions in part to determine the ROI, said Bosc. But it’s difficult to determine the full impact of the code because even if some customers don’t have the ability to scan the item, they will start seeing the brand in a different way, Bosc said.

‘Instead of being Edith Piaf we want to be Matt Dusk or Michael Buble,’ Bosc said.