Luxury French champagne brand Veuve Clicquot is cementing its ties with the art world after launching the second edition of its immersive Widow Series, a strategy it hopes will continue to “challenge perceptions” of the Moët Hennessy-owned brand as the luxury drinks industry continues to flux.
First launched in 2015, the Widow Series is live art event in London, and places Veuve Clicquot away from its traditional Polo roots and into a new position and creative direction for the brand. This year’s event featured performance art, theatre, costume and dance, written, directed and curated by performance artist FKA twigs.
With creative direction from Mission, Veuve Clicquot’s aim of reaching consumers in new ways paid off; the brand saw a 574% increase in user-generated Instagram content and engagement and a 455% increase for overall campaign reach. The Drum caught up with Julie Nollet, marketing and communications director at Moët Hennessy UK to find out why the brand is changing tack.
Why did the brand want to talk to a new audience, and why was it feel the need to change how people perceive it? Was there a specific business challenge there?
As with any business, the luxury drinks industry is always evolving. Veuve Clicquot has a strong, proud heritage based on the pioneering spirit of Madame Clicquot herself. It was through her creativity and innovation that the brand was successfully built, and The Widow Series was created as a way of celebrating her legacy, through the collaboration with some of today’s best creative luminaries.
We worked with Mission, our long-term creative and strategic partner to establish how we want to talk about ourselves, the space we want to be in and how our consumer is evolving.
We constantly challenge ourselves and it is crucial to engage with consumers in a contemporary way, by connecting the brand in a meaningful and cultural space.
Our customers are discerning, cerebral and like to have their perceptions challenged – The Widow Series, and by working this year with FKA twigs our ambition was brought to life.
What is the strategy around moving away from Polo and into the creative arts? Is this a long- term move away from the sport?
Polo was part of our Summer season strategy that successfully ran for 20 years. However, Veuve Clicquot’s link to the creative and design industry has always been part of the brand DNA.
The brand is renowned for other noteworthy partnerships on the international scene, including projects with Tom Dixon, The Campana Brothers, Keichi Matsuda, Andrée Putman and Pablo Reinoso. The Widow Series was simply a way of evolving this link to the creative arts and cementing the brand, and Madame Clicquot’s creative heritage in a new way.
Since The Widow Series, we have seen significant increase in user generated Instagram content and engagement as well as an increase in online interactions, reinforcing the importance of having a pioneering attitude to communications and the power of placing ourselves at the heart of culture.
What are some of the biggest challenges in the luxury drinks industry and how is Veuve Clicquot tackling this?
Consumers today are notably more discerning, through access to almost infinite amounts of content and information. With so much noise on and offline engaging people in a meaningful, enduring way requires us to think even more creatively and strategically.
Given that the brand is looking to reach new audiences what media channels are most interesting and how are you using them?
Since the first year of The Widow Series in 2015, we have continued to focus on the legacy of the event, so that consumers who came to see it or engaged with content produced from the events were challenged with an intense and memorable experience.
Experiential consumer engagement is incredibly powerful and combining this with world-class visuals that work for social and traditional media alike is at the heart of Mission’s in-culture strategy.
What other activity can we expect from Veuve Clicquot in the coming months?
In 2017 we are excited to begin plans for our 44th Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Awards. The award, which counts Dame Marjorie Scardino DBE FRSA, Anya Hindmarch MBE and Dame Zaha Hadid DBE as past winners, celebrates the success of business women worldwide. It is awarded to those who share the same qualities as Madame Clicquot: Her enterprising spirit, her courage and the determination necessary to accomplish her business goals.
It is the first international award created specifically to recognise the contribution that women have made to business life and 2017 sees the introduction of a new award - the Veuve Clicquot Social Purpose Award. This new award aims to celebrate businesswomen championing social purpose beyond their core business case. A subject that we are proud to lead conversation on.