'Love Is Blind'? No, This Collab Says, Love Is Wine


For season six of Netflix’s hit reality series “Love Is Blind,” the streaming service teamed up with The Wine Group’s Cupcake and its agency partner, Mekanism, to create “Love Is Wine.” A video teasing both the wine and the upcoming season went viral, promoting Love Is Wine as it became widely available in retail stores.

CPG Insider caught up separately with Cupcake CMO Helen Kurtz and Mekanism’s head of creative partnerships, Lisa Zakroff, to discuss how the collaborative release came to be, and what it demonstrates about successful brand partnerships.

The following has been edited for length and clarity.

CPG Insider: How did the partnership come about, and what makes it different from others you’ve worked on?

Lisa Zakroff: There’s not always enough time to do creative partnerships really well and deep like this. We’d been in talks with Netflix about opportunities coming up, and took this to one to Cupcake. They already had the number one Chardonnay in the premium market, so they created a custom bottle to show in season six of the show.

It was so well aligned that it was a no-brainer. Sometimes partnerships come to life and they’re almost forced because a brand really wants to work with a property; other times, they work to make it truly meaningful in every way.

What made Cupcake the right wine in The Wine Group’s portfolio to feature in the partnership?

We came to Cupcake really quickly, partly because of their established brand presence. Cupcake had also been looking to do something that would resonate with a younger audience, and this property does that in spades.

What went into promoting and launching the product?

A collaborative team across Cupcake, Mekanism, and Netflix, worked to get the wine into around 4,500 retailer locations across the country within the time frame.

The strategy has always been to bring the experience of the show to life for fans in the real world. Having this custom bottle was a really amazing way to make viewers feel like they could have a piece of the show.  Cupcake took the lead with the design of the bottle and created a really impressive, beautiful design.

What was the biggest challenge in bringing this to life?

Even from the moment we locked this in, we knew we had very little time to get it to retail. This is one of the most streamed shows out there, and their fanbase is really intense. We didn't want to disappoint people. We wanted them to be able to walk into a store, see it and buy it the day it launched.

What made the partnership beneficial to both parties?

Cupcake was able to bring to Netflix the ability to get into every major retail store out there. For Netflix, that was a really compelling reason to pursue the partnership. For Cupcake, being attached to this property really got them in front of a wide audience of consumers they were trying to reach.

What did this opportunity represent for Cupcake?

Helen Kurtz: Before identifying this collaboration, we had a clear objective of building household penetration by increasing brand relevance with consumers. An obvious way to do this was by aligning the brand with a culturally relevant property that amplified the brand’s reach.

The collaboration created an opportunity for Cupcake to be a part of this community of “Love Is Blind” fans. Wine was already a part of their ritual, and bringing the Love is Wine bottle from on-screen to in-home was a seamless way for us to bring a little more joy to the experience.

What role have partnerships played for the brand in the past, and did Love is Wine represent a change or evolution for the brand’s marketing?

While Cupcake had participated in other brand collaborations in the past, that primarily impacted retail merchandising. This was the first time the brand had aligned with a media property that enabled us to extend our reach to new consumers beyond the retail footprint.

What was the strategy behind the campaign, and what were some results?

We wanted to give the fans something to buzz about in advance of the new season. Because we were able to shoot in the actual pods, with alumni from the show, we thought teasing the product in a way that would appear to be a new version of the show would be really fun.

The engagement has been overwhelming in all the best ways. During the reunion show, which featured the Love is Wine bottle prominently, we saw tons of fans posting their watch party set-ups, and it was staggering to see how many of them had the Love is Wine bottle as the centerpiece.

The campaign is accomplishing our goal of engaging with a younger and more diverse audience, which is so critical for bringing new households into wine.

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