Is this range of McWilliams wines a housebrand or not?
it is exclusive to Dan Murpy’s, so ‘yes’, but it is a proprietary brand, so ‘no’. At the very least, the trading terms conversations would have been interesting.
It is also claimed to be an ‘Innovation’ which redefines my understanding of what that word means. Housebrands do not innovate, they copy, some may say act as a parasite on the innovation activities of proprietary brands. Product innovation is one of the two key competitive options (the other being the opportunity to now connect with their consumers digitally) available to FMCG suppliers by which they can differentiate their products from their housebrand competition. Supermarket chains have done well squeezing costs out of their supply chains with process innovation, usually to the cost of their suppliers, incapable to this point to be effective with product innovation.
Exclusivity has always been a demand of retailers, difficult in Australia with just the two of them having such overwhelming dominance, but in unbranded categories like produce, they have successfully developed strongly preferential supply arrangements. But wine? one of the most brand sensitive categories around?
From Woolies owned Dan Murphy’s I got the above offer the other day for an exclusive to Dans branded McWilliams Bagtown range, from the Griffith area. All the hyperbolic language and story telling that goes with the wine category, but an exclusive range to Dans. it seems Woolies have started something I have not seen before in Australia that has the potential for wider use. For years in Hong Kong, you dealt with one or the other of the two major FMCG retailers, but not both. Problem here with that strategy is that there are only 24 million of us, and widely scattered so the twisted economics and trading term requirements surrounding proprietary branded retail chain distribution have simply not allowed a similar development here. Till now?
The McWilliams sales manager will be having an interesting conversation with the Liquorland buyer the next time he visits, although it is reasonable to expect he will get a phone call, and probably lose either some distribution or a promotional slot, or something that reflects that McWilliams have crossed a line, and Liquorland will not be left out.
As an aside, the Dan Murphy’s 90 point label badge borders on the dodgy. You can expect a 90 point wine (Silver medal) judged at one of the major shows to be pretty good, warranting a place in any cellar. The wine in this case might be OK, but it has not been judged by anyone outside Dans staff, and they are unlikely to tell the boss that his choice sucked. Griffith is not known for its cabernet, the climate is all wrong for the grape variety, and the few I have tried were well short of 90 points. Hopefully this one is an exception.