John Hegarty at the MW Symposium – Love That Languedoc

The Master of Wine Symposium took place in Bordeaux this past June, but there was a very important Languedoc connection.  The keynote speech was delivered by renowned advertising expert, Sir John Hegarty who now owns a winery in the Languedoc.  So as a small wink, I wanted to share that every region in France looks to the innovators who call the Languedoc home.


Here’s the video of Hegarty’s enlightening presentation in which he shares a lot of great views on the forces that shape modern economics and the wine world specifically.  He’s also got a very catchy bit of advice: lose the mystery, keep the magic.  If you have an hour, watch the video because it’s quality.

Otherwise, it’s tough to summarize.  I can just pick out a few of my favorite points:

  • Consider your customers like an audience that wants to be entertained
  • Don’t make labeling and marketing decisions out of some misplaced sense of tradition/mystery
  • Do things for your audience’s sake and they will appreciate that devotion
  • Wine should not only be marketed as a companion to food

But re-reading this list, I feel that it really cheapens the wealth of information in the speech.  Hegarty manages to deliver succinct and entertaining explanations of complicated changes in marketing, globalization, technology, and more… and you should really just watch the video.

MW Symposium – 26 June 2010 – Session 3 – The wine business viewed from outside from Masters of Wine on Vimeo.

This “viewed from outside”-perspective will be further investigated when I visit Domaine Hegarty Chamans later this year.  And my UK readers will be able to catch John’s wines (and I think he’ll be there too) at the Languedoc Outsider Tasting this November.

And because I’m an advertisement-nerd, here is my favorite commercial that I didn’t realize was done by Hegarty’s firm until earlier today. Yes that’s the guy from Train Spotting (Robert Carlyle).  I think what’s impressive is that I don’t really love the story of Johnny Walker.  I think it’s sort of a story about globalization and industrialization of drink… but the ad is so powerful that I enjoy the journey anyway.  And I think of Robert Carlyle throwing things off camera whenever I see Johnny Walker in a store.

This one too for Axe, which is …uh… different in mood.

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