Cono Sur & Le Tour de France - Winner of the First Time Sponsor Award 2015

In sponsoring Le Tour de France 2014 Cono Sur had a mission to deliver a campaign that would engage key retail accounts leading to new and increased listings, build brand awareness amongst its target and new audiences and ultimately drive sales throughout 2014.

This was a first time sponsorship for Cono Sur, the first time a wine brand had sponsored Le Tour (in the UK) and a first time sponsorship for Grand Central Creative.  

  1. Campaign background

Viña Cono Sur is one of Chile’s leading wine producers. Its has a deep commitment to innovation, sustainable winemaking practices and strong price/value ratio which have helped it show positive organic growth.

The Cono Sur team both in Chile and the UK (largest export market) felt that in order to become one of the dominant South American brands in the future, a substantial marketing investment was needed. 

The strategy would be to use marketing levers to a) build distribution in existing channels and b) build brand awareness with consumers, combined would lead to increased sales. 

Grand Central was briefed to find a platform to support the brands ambitious goals. We knew the brand wanted a big idea, something unique to the category, something to capture hearts and minds. We wanted an idea that could live on past 2014 which led us to look at potential sponsorships.

Cono Sur Bicicleta has a bicycle depicted on the logo that is the actual bicycle the workers use to tend the grapes within the vineyard backing the brands sustainability credentials. 

We profiled 20-30 Bicicleta shoppers, and found them very environmentally conscious. They actively seek low impact products but are driven by price/promotions. We also noted an affiliation to be associated with environmentally conscious behaviour. One of the highest behaviours to index was cycling. Le Tour de France had 100% recall. 

Sponsoring Le Tour de France was the big idea for the brand. 

It fitted the bill on many levels:

  • World largest annual sporting event
  • Opening three stages taking place in the UK. The first two stages in Yorkshire, the 3rd stage Cambridge - London
  • British public had a thirst for live sporting action following the Olympics
  • 4 million UK spectators were forecast come out and support
  • A television audience of over 3 billion people were predicted to watch 
  • Cycling is growing in popularity
  • Instant positive recognition amongst our audience

We created a retail roadshow where the concept was shared with key accounts. The ideas was so well received it made for a very easy decision to go ahead with the sponsorship. It instantly made the retail buyers take Cono Sur seriously and opened conversations to increased listings. 

We approached the governing body that organises Le Tour, ASO, and negotiated the rights to become the sole wine partner in 2014. This was a first for Cono Sur and a first for Le Tour. 

  1. Objectives

Our campaign was designed to build distribution in existing retail channels along with opening the door on new retail accounts. This would raise the awareness of the brand among the key retail buyers and show Cono Sur to be a serious player within the wine category. We needed to demonstrate a unique idea that could be tailored to each retailer offering them exclusive content for their consumers. This would ensure prominent in store fixtures, media space and increased listings.

We looked to build brand awareness with the consumers via the retail environments but also directly via a series of brand led executions. Our shoppers were typically female, 25-55 in age and strongly driven by promotion and brand recall/affinity.

  1. Execution and exploitation

We created a sponsorship logo promoting and used throughout our marketing materials. This was added to all bottles of Cono Sur throughout March – October. 

Our creative focus was to play on the fact we were fully integrated into Le Tour. We developed a unique designation of ‘Official Supporter of Le Tour de France’ which was then backed up by a ‘Team Cono Sur’ creative positioning. Team Cono Sur being the 4 wines within the range. 

This creative was then leveraged into each retailer with bespoke communications both on and offline. This allowed us to secure key promotional displays and increased listings. We gave away VIP tickets to the start and end of each stage, bikes, holidays and VIP goodie bags. We also created bespoke display units for different retailers, in store sampling and a targeted radio promotion driving people into Tesco to sample the wine.

We created a grape crushing bike nicknamed ‘Grape Expectations’. This was taken on retail tour of all of the key customer account HQ’s. At the end of Le Tour we produced 101 special edition bottles of Cono Sur Pinot Noir from the juice., was the responsive digital hub for the brand marketing push. The website told the story of Team Cono Sur and ran three different competitions allowing users to win: tickets, goodie bags, bikes and special edition wine. 

We also ran a social media competition encouraging users to send in a selfie of support. Producing 16,848 entrants.

During Le Tour, we branded a sampling area within the start zone. Between each stage we branded 2 x London Taxis and attached a 12 foot model bottle of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc to the top. Both cars then took part in the Sponsorship Parade. At the end of each stage we had a branded public sampling zone within 50 meters of the finish line. 

  1. Outcome and evaluation

Build distribution:

  • 10 new listings across Multiple Grocers were achieved 

Build brand awareness:

  • Brand competitions = 16,848 entrants 
  • 12,000 samples handed out in the 3 days of the Tour
  • 8,000 money off vouchers handed out during the Tour
  • 6 million people estimated to have watched the Tour

Increase sales: 

  • Sales were up 100.9% in value & 109% - equating to a £7million increase. 
  • Brand raised to 4th best-selling Chilean wine brand. 
    • Source: Nielsen Scantrak data 52 weeks to 19.7.2014

  • “The Cono Sur sponsorship of the TDF worked exceptionally well in Tesco, building on the already strong brand image of Cono Sur, and delivering the highest sales we have ever seen on the products. Customers were particularly engaged by the in-store exclusive sampling of the products, and the competition that enabled them to win VIP tickets and Cono Sur goodie bags. The Cono Sur brand marketing team worked extremely hard in producing an innovative and engaging campaign. Tom Waugh, Tesco Wine Buyer

  • This new and innovative sponsorship has allowed the Cono Sur brand to target a whole new target audience. The events, coupons and prizes have been very popular and caused a lot of excitement. From giant wine bottles to grape crushing bicycles – the marketing has been loud and proud – love it!!!  Laura Stafford, Co-op Wine Buyer


  • “It was an excellent piece of activity, that was well joined up through all channels, it's driven sales and brand awareness for us, and certainly contributed to what was a very successful event for Yorkshire. I think the key thing you did well was connecting the activity through above and below the line, online and in store and on pack.” Jonathan Olding, Morrisons PLC Wine Buyer

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