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Allô, allô, Bonjour!

Marketing. A pretentious word with a trendy aftertaste. But its roots are modest: 'to go to market', so it really doesn't mean anything more than 'selling'. That's the theme of this Slurp. How do you sell wine and how do you sell books.

Allez, à l'attaque!

In this Slurp!

Trimmed! Bookmarketing
Winemarketing Bookmarketing 2
Winemarketing 2 Bookmarketing test

Yay! I've been trimmed! The new wine year can begin!


2013 was no agreeable vintage. But luckily our grapes grow on chalk and clay and so Mother Earth was able to easily slurp up the excessive water as it fell from the skies. What is more, our vineyards are planted for the most part with merlot grapes, which ripen quicker. So all in all we didn't suffer too much from the whimsical moods of the elements, and as we speak some nice juicy wine is ripening in the barriques.


The accountant does tell us there is about 30% too little, but hey, c'est la vie...we'll just have to cut a croissant or two from our weekly ration. Meanwhile all our hundred thousand grape vines have been trimmed and spring is whizzing through the air. The brand new wine year 2014 is ready for take off.



France is the world's largest wine producer. Within France, Bordeaux is the largest wine-producing region. Nevertheless each year, Bordeaux is surpassed in terms of volume produced by the South of France. In the arms race between these two heavyweight grape smashers, Bordeaux is running behind by about 5.200 million bottles. Southern France fills up an annual 6.800 million bottles (Bordeaux a mere 1.600 million). All in all, a sizable gulp to wash down the meatballs with.


So it is not surprising that the yearly Salon International des Vins et Spiritueux Mediterraneens happens in Montpellier, wine capital of southern France. As we produce our Slurp-wines in the region we had no valid excuse to shove an invitation from Vinisud, in their own words 'The centre of the wine world', into the shredder.
1700 wine makers from Languedoc, Roussillon, Provence, the Rhone valley, Corsica and the Mediterranean countries expectantly put up their stalls in the fair hall. 'Is this going to be the day I have been waiting for?' they ponder whilst hammering. 'Will there be, among these 30.000 visitors, a Chinese buyer that will release me from all my sorrows?'


There are the little guys that come to the Sochi of wine to try and hawk their wares. Some are so destitute they have been forced to sell their car to make it here.


But there are wine giants too, who offhandedly fling down six shipping containers.
One idiosyncratic grape pusher even had the audacity to lug his actual vineyard into the hall.


With a heavy heart Jean-Michel sets about the uncorking of the 6.873 bottles to prepare for the tasting session. But exactly on time all bouteilles are ready and breathing and the industrious bottle opener is ready to be carried off to the emergency room by way of winebulance.


An impressive example of French neo-logistics; seeing as both visitors and stand holders alike will primarily be moving around crawling on all fours, after a few hours of wine tasting, the route maps have been stuck to the floor.


Dress code is red-black with neck strap and a suspicious look in the eye. However, 'Poulet explosion' is on the rise as a fashion statement too.


There was a satisfying number of oriental guests, who however did stray from prevailing etiquette. In spite of the often resonant slurping, the spittoons remained spotlessly clean.
Other eastern visitors were of the opinion that tasting is best done at home and attempted to stuff entire bottles into their handbags.


With contemplatively knitted brow I informed a stall-keeping colleague of my tasting notes: '...Your wine makes a beautiful soft entry and has a pleasing mouth feel. But I do find the finish slightly greasy...'
Too late I realized that this was an olive farmer who had got lost.


Meat master Jean-Louis generously offers me a piece of his Saucisson fait maison to alleviate my oily overdose.


Eros sausage!' he declares proudly. 'One hundred percent wild boar!' He heads into the hall for a quick demo in crowd source marketing. 'Have a look at this, the ladies love it!'
But the spoiled expo pussy-cats haughtily recoil from the forearm sized meat product. 'Non merci, monsieur...'


It's coming up to eleven o'clock and Marie-Alize is starting the customer-marketing of her Andouillettes; the classic saggy sausage made from intestines and tripe with a stench solid as a brick wall.


We quickly push on to the Bar buvette. At that moment still abandoned, but when we give proprietor Jean-Pierre the marketing advice to replace the confusing image of a cup of coffee with a sign saying 'VIN', the establishment fills up quickly.


After lunch the marketing proceeds in typically French fashion. Burping softly, people settle down with a good book and slowly the eyelids begin to droop.


Carefully shielded from any potential disturbances of the peace, such as customers, people settle down to play a game of cards.


Some wine farmers have decided to take the long distance approach and carry out their marketing by way of a row of monitors and a pile of order forms so they themselves can stay at home.


When it turns out that even the master class Banana Picking can't rouse people's appetite, we decide to call it a day.


After a final glass of red and a hot truffle burger we are castle bound.

Wine marketing 2

For centuries French wine producers had made their wine in exactly the same way as their ancestors. And after it was bottled, they would be visited by the negociant who used to buy their entire stock.
Because of that traditional, sure-fire sales method, they never had a need to concern themselves with marketing.
But these days, under pressure from ever-increasing competition, French wine is not selling as well globally as it used to.

And no one knows how to turn the tide. Not even the experts. Like blind men in the night they bewilderedly persevere with their humourless, archaic advertising campaigns that are only understood by the makers themselves. They let out a mouth-fart and shrug their shoulders in astonishment.
'On peut rien faire...'

Odd and regrettable. Because good marketing is a thing of joy and beauty...



Toilet cleaner

Quick drying concrete


Dental insurance and on the right perhaps the best one of all: a toilet attendant with a sense of marketing.

Book marketing


Our migration was, as biologists call it, 'thermally motivated'; we went in search of warmer climes. Killer whales do the same thing. They swim to more temperate waters in order to rid themselves of their old skin.


We liked the sound of that. Especially since publishers Bruna had begun to stalk us with ever increasing urgency regarding a new book for which we had signed a contract. Our backpack revelled in the prospect: a trip with Ryan Air!


A pile of newspapers and a half bottle of champagne later we sauntered along the narrow little alleyways covered by lush bougainvillea, towards our writer's retreat.


Naturally, certain wardrobe related adaptations were required.


The choice on the menu seemed to be, while altogether orderly, relatively limited. So we were glad to find we could just order some fish.


Et voilà, that very same day we could embark on the completion of the new book. An action-thriller this time. The last five years I have been messing around with it and now, ten days full speed ahead to cross that finish line. No mercy.

Book marketing 2


Writing a book is exhausting, but making sure that the public gets to know about that book is at least as precarious a task.

But sure, those books will sell themselves?


Not this one. This one isn't about wine.

I became intrigued by the fact that good and evil often go hand in hand. That circumstances can change a sweet innocent girl into a merciless killer and an upstanding wineboer into an assassin. While the story is set in France, it plays out against a backdrop of drugs, guns, violent pursuits and yes, a little bit of wine as well. All served up with the chilly understated humour that characterizes this particular milieu.

What fascinated me was the glimpse into that totally immoral world. Cruel, ruthless and mercenary. That world exists. Despite the fact that we rarely come into contact with it, it's all around us. We're only one step away from it. In this book I take that step.

An author, known for his light hearted Slurp books, suddenly brings out a tough-as-nails action thriller. What about all those wine loving Tulipe fans? In shock they'll switch en masse to Blossom Hill. Not to mention those loyal TV viewers; they're bound to collectively switch to the Sudoku channel. How on earth do you ever resolve a diabolical marketing dilemma such as this?

Book marketing - crowd sourcing

You can't judge a book by looking at the cover.
True enough, but that is not to say that you don't. You judge by the cover more than by anything else. As the saying goes: "Packaging that communicates the values of the brand, elicits a higher buying intention than packaging that doesn't, studies using MRI brain scans show."

Below 6 outlines for the cover of the new action thriller, Uzi Baby.
Which of these books would you buy?

Cliquez ici and give your opinion liberally.


- announcement -

Slurp wine rack
No better gift than a bottle of wine. Unless perhaps it's a unique Slurp wine rack with a bottle of wine in it. In this particular case a bottle of Slurp Bistro Rouge, an authentic country wine made in the south of France from ripe Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
This wine is not for sale anywhere else and is only served in certain exclusive restaurants in Holland.
Don't hesitate, do yourself a favour and go ahead and order this rugged Slurp wine rack filled with a bouteille superbly juicy Slurp rouge!

€ 19,95 Order? Cliquez ici.



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