Say what you want about businesses big enough to account for just under 13% of the UK’s total retail sales, sometimes huge names are the only way things can get done. Take for example what the country’s largest supermarket chain is currently working on with the Enaleni project, in South Africa.
A black empowerment programme in the Western cape, people living here have been growing grapes for years, and supplying to nearby Stellenboch Vineyards because there was no capacity to make and market an independent brand. That is until Tesco got involved, with the company spearheading a new bottle of vino, corked at the site in question, via an impressively innovative social media campaign.
By visiting the British grocery giant’s Facebook page, and clicking on the app, the public has the chance to come up with their own ideas as to what would form the perfect tipple. From grape variety to label, all the decisions are being made via online voting, which is currently taking place on the aforementioned network. So far the public has opted for a red shiraz, and white chardonnay, meaning now we need to make a judgment on the label and product name, with the shortlists revealed this week, as hand-picked by three industry experts.
Although not the first time a campaign like this has been conceived, in fact far from it, here there’s more than one major PR benefits to be taken from the overall initiative. The first of which is, quite clearly, the potential for a high level of engagement amongst customers (spurred on by the chance of winning a trip to South Africa by getting involved). But, in addition to that, there’s the all-important corporate social responsibility aspect, a vital part of any big firm’s marketing plans, not least one that has in the past suffered from scathing opinions suggesting it was an all-consuming, traditional corner shop bankrupting entity.
The NIMBY petition that circulated when Tesco decided to buy more land in Chorlton, a southern suburb in our own hometown of Manchester, is indicative of this point. As are websites such as Tescopoly.org So here we not only have the fair-trade selling point of this South African deal, but also the charitable link with the Enaleni community itself. Not only is the UK giant going to pay a reasonable price for the wine, those payments will (in turn) go towards assisting with efforts to improve the stability, and expand the reach and offering of the empowerment programme, the likes of which are vital if one of the most historically notorious countries in terms of racial equality is ever going to truly improve the lives of its poorest, commonly those that once fell victim to policy-based subjugation. In short then, not just a shrewd move, but a worthy cause too.