November 18, 2013
French spirits maker Moët & Chandon is using a new approach to sell its Champagne, putting its bottles behind glass in a vending machine.
The vending machine is part of the holiday gift section at British department store Selfridges, and dispenses mini bottles of Moët & Chandon. By putting its product in such an ordinary display, the brand is making itself more accessible and appealing to entry-level holiday shoppers.
"I believe the day of there being a stigma behind convenience options for consumers is behind us and an old-school thought," said Ken Morris, principal at Boston Retail Partners, Boston.
"Today's consumer is a savvy, wired consumer who wants what she wants when she wants it in the most convenient option available, and this certainly matches that criterion," he said.
Mr. Morris is not affiliated with Moët & Chandon, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Moët & Chandon was unable to comment by press deadline.
Buttons for bubbly
The Moët & Chandon vending machine looks high-end, with a metallic rose gold finish, mimicking the color of Champagne. The Moët & Chandon brand name is clearly visible.
The Moët & Chandon vending machine at Selfridges
The machine holds hundreds of 200ml bottles, which cost $29 each, a feasible price for budding luxury buyers when compared to other bottles for purchase at the department store.
The vending machine is located in the “Destination Christmas” section of Selfridges's London store, presumably so shoppers can buy bottles as gifts or celebrate the holiday with a bottle of Champagne.
More than just a prop, the machine actually vends bottles. Consumers can press a button to choose a bottle, and watch as the machine dispenses a bottle.
Moët & Chandon produced limited-edition bottles specifically for Selfridges, with a green art-deco label with Swarovski crystal embellishments.
Both Moët & Chandon and Selfridges have posted photos of the vending machine on their social media pages, and consumers have been posting their own amusement at the case.
A Tweet from Moët & Chandon about their vending machine
By choosing to use an unconventional and quirky method of displaying the bottles, both Selfridges and Moët & Chandon have created buzz for themselves in the process. Both brands have seen large amounts of retweets and shares from their social media posts about the machine because of its novelty.
In addition to being sold in stores, Selfridges offers the mini bottles on its ecommerce site.
Moët & Chandon has been trying to change its brand image through campaigns which drove social media interaction with consumers.
For example, Moët & Chandon strove to position itself as the Champagne of choice for celebrations with a global photography contest through Nov. 9 that spanned Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter.
The #MoëtMoment campaign called for fans to submit photos of any celebration and each week a participant won a golden magnum bottle of Moët Impérial. Since the campaign will dispense prizes on a weekly basis, it may have captivated fans consistently enough to reposition the brand (see story).
In the U.S., Moët & Chandon named professional tennis player and 2012 Wimbledon Champion Roger Federer as its new ambassador to give the brand a boost through an authentic personality.
Swiss-born Mr. Federer will be making appearances in the brand’s upcoming advertising campaigns that will debut March 2013. Moët & Chandon shared the new partnership through its Facebook and Web site that features videos and images of Mr. Federer (see story).
This latest effort from Moët & Chandon is most likely going to have mixed reactions.
"I think it will hurt the brand in the long run," said Al Ries, founder and chairman of Ries & Ries, a Roswell, GA-based marketing strategy consultancy.
"Champagne is expensive and a vending machine connotes exactly the wrong perception," he said. "I can't image existing Moët & Chandon customers will be impressed with a vending machine selling Champagne.
"On the other hand, consumers who don't buy Champagne might be impressed to see it sold in a vending machine. And they are likely to also notice the brand name. Possibly it might influence some of these consumers to consider buying Moët & Chandon in the future."
Sarah Jones, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York