Barefoot Wines' Playbook As Official Wine Of The NFL

Last week, Barefoot Wine brought wine to beer’s big party.

The E&J Gallo Winery brand was on the ground in Las Vegas for a series of events in the Super Bowl Mandalay Bay Convention Center from Feb. 10-13. Branded initiatives included Barefoot’s experts helping visitors find their go-to “spirit wine” for gameday, photo opportunities at Barefoot’s Helmet Wall, and the playful (and decidedly nontraditional) Barefoot Slushie the brand offered to help visitors cool down.

Far from a one-off, the campaign capped off Barefoot’s second year as the official wine of the NFL. The brand confirmed to Marketing Daily that its sponsorship deal with the NFL was a five-year agreement beginning with the 2022-2023 season, meaning the Kansas City Chiefs' dynasty could run its course by the time the agreement is set to wrap up in 2027.



Barefoot’s efforts this year built on a successful inaugural season which saw its linear TV investments pay off with a 6.38% increase in sales during the ’22-’23 NFL season, according to Circana data cited by the brand, and a 27% increase this season through October through leveraging its NFL partnership for in-store displays.

It’s hard to imagine a better wine mom to win football audiences over to the drink than Donna Kelce, and Barefoot made her part of its gameplan last year with its “Barefoot Bandwagon Box,” handing things off to Kelce to host one winning fan and three friends during the season's rematch of the 2023 Super Bowl between the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles. Kelce answered any questions the group might have about the sport in a “no-judgment zone.”

The initiative exemplifies Barefoot’s approach of inviting in new fans by making wine and football less intimidating.

“Barefoot believes that while both football and wine can both be complicated, you don’t have to be [an expert] to understand it,” E&J Gallo Winery vice president of brand management Beth Orozco told Marketing Daily, describing the strategy as in line with the NFL’s approach to growing its fanbase. “Barefoot is a wine that has never taken itself so seriously. We have a literal foot on our package.”

“Barefoot brings more consumers into the wine category than any other brand,” she claimed, adding that one in four drinkers of the brand were new to the category, and that Barefoot’s brand positioning is built around welcoming new wine drinkers by making the category more inviting.

That approach includes connecting with a segment of football fans that’s too often ignored: women.

“We know that 40% of NFL fans are women, and half of women prefer wine over beer or spirits. We felt there was an opportunity there around the game day occasion to serve consumers in a way they otherwise might not be,” Orozco said. She tied the attempts to appeal to football fans beyond diehard NFL fans with a category many find intimidating or uninviting. “People love getting together socially,” she said, adding that “wine has underserved that occasion” and “beer’s not reaching the needs of all consumers…we have the products that meet the occasion.”

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