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Wither Hills: Heard It Through The Grapevine

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A new wine brand is born every 57 hours in Australia (Source: Vinsight)So awareness would not be enough. Wither Hills needed the target audience to engage and experience the brand for recall.  

Furthermore, with a 3.5% share of spend in a fragmented market, it needed to ensure that communication was differentiated from the thousands of brands in market. It needed to focus on creating a different multi-sensory experience that would help the brand stand out.  

The Wither Hills brand embraces the concept of relaxation through its “for times when times does not matter” philosophy - a true differentiation from the wine category which plays almost exclusively to social drinking occasions.   

It needed to tease out this sentiment of relaxation to cut through, and had the perfect asset to do so... The brand's lush, picturesque vineyards – located in New Zealand’s Marlborough Valley.  

Match Media needed to leverage this quiet setting to make some noise in market and deeply connect consumers to this beautiful experience. 


While its proposition of “for times when time doesn’t matter” was powerful, the agency knew that for its target audience, time was never on her side. She rarely had a moment to herself. 

So for the audience to truly engage and connect with the brand’s promise, it needed to do more than capture the vineyard’s beauty. It needed to get her to experience true relaxation by creating these moments for her… 

Recent neurochemistry research indicates that music is a powerful tool for calming the mind and even relaxing the muscles. So to add value to the brand story, Match Media combined the power of music and the vineyard’s beauty to create a multi-sensory experience through content to fuel her escape from the daily grind. 

To connect her to the brand, it needed to inspire her to unwind. Music would do so by capturing this sentiment. And media could best deliver this through various content formats. 


Match Media engaged acclaimed Australian singer/songwriter Darren Middleton to live at the Wither Hills vineyard and create unique songs inspired by his surrounds. They even built him a studio on site.  

One week later, three timeless songs emerged alongside beautiful content that captured his journey and the relaxation sentiment.  

Both the setting and the music needed to communicate the “for times when time does not matter” proposition and inspire relaxation - so the agency took a two-prong approach to content creation and distribution: 

1. Showcase the vineyard and document Darren’s experience, 
2. Deliver his songs.  

It housed the story, the songs, and images of the setting itself in one online “relaxation destination” hub. There, an interactive playlist was created where consumers could hear the Wither Hills sound and add songs of their own.  

As the website was the ultimate relaxation destination, media needed to tell the story, inspire relaxation moments, and drive her to the hub: 

1. Created TVCs, native articles, and online videos documenting Darren’s experience and distributed this via Pay TV and online environments - channels which she used to unwind for the day. 

2. Sponsored “relaxing” programmes on Pay TV and seeded the relaxation concept through custom billboards. 

3. Seeded the vineyard’s songs through social media and interactive video billboards, inviting users to contribute to the playlist and vote for their favourite songs. 

4. Created “For Times When Time Does Not Matter” radio segments, delivering relaxing sounds on her drive home.  


Wither Hills experienced a true shift. 

- Awareness increased by 42% YoY 
- Trial increased by 10% YoY 
- “Brand Adorers” increased by 42% YoY 

… All this achieved despite a minor 6.6% lift in product distribution (Source: FiftyFive5 Brand Tracking Research). 

Off-premise sales went through the roof during the campaign- peaking at a 50% lift YoY in November and 49% lift YoY in December.  

This true shift was driven by a content-first approach – driving brand recall to 11.2% (vs 9.2% competitors’ average) and delivering true engagement during the campaign: 

 66% uplift in social acquisition 
 410 days’ worth of completed video views online 
 16% playlist engagement rate in October and a 9% playlist engagement rate in November (well above the intended 3% engagement rate benchmark) 
 41 second dwell time across interactive online video billboards (32% above the industry benchmark) 
 2.36 minutes average dwell on native articles 
 2.35% Facebook engagement rate  

Both the songs and TVCs led to consumers to agree that Wither Hills ranks above market competition when it comes to: 

- Campaign Appeal: +10% above competitor average 
- Differentiating: +9% above competitor average.

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Wither Hills
Drinks (alcoholic)
October - December 2014
Match Media
Media Channel:
  • FMAs winner
  • FMAs shortlisted

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