Italian wine brand Barone Fini’s Pinot Grigio: Valdadige is a best-seller, but with the launch of a new label that replaces the family crest with a hot air balloon icon, the brand saw an opportunity to promote this new positioning and drive trial among affluent wine-drinkers in the process. Leaning into that hot air balloon iconography, the brand is activating “Flight of Fini,” an Italian courtyard-inspired sampling environment and VR experience at select hot air balloon festivals across the country this summer and fall.
The program debuted at the Up, Up and Away Balloon Festival, May 6-8, in Lakeland, FL, with a bright inflatable structure featuring larger-than-life bottles of the wine, wine barrels, a Vespa, a backdrop of the Dolomite mountains in the Northern Italian region where the wine’s grapes are grown, and a hot air balloon basket structure in which consumers experience the VR content through Oculus goggles. And the view: It’s from inside an actual hot air balloon floating over Barone Fini’s river valley, vineyard and countryside—and they take it all in, virtually, while sampling the wine, of course.
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To create the content, a film crew based out of Rome traveled to the Barone Fini vineyards and over two days used drones to capture the 360-degree VR content, which was then narrated by Giovanni Bonmartini-Fini, an “ancestor of the baron” of the more than 1,000-year-old vineyard and face of the brand. Bonmartini-Fini was also in attendance at the festival in Lakeland to discuss the wine in detail and sign giveaway wine glasses. At the end of the experience, consumers took part in an iPad survey that measured purchase and recommendation intent and overall brand awareness, and were invited to purchase full servings of the wine at concessions on-site. Barone Fini’s next stop for “Flight of Fini” is The New Jersey Lottery Festival of Ballooning in July.
“You look up and see the balloon canopy and look down and see the basket under your feet, and you can take a 360-degree look around and see the vineyards from all different angles,” says Martha Dzwonkowski, senior brand manager at Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits. “It’s giving you permission to explore the brand on your terms in a way that’s fun and memorable. And then you couple that with sampling at the event and being able to meet the winemaker, and it’s really a 360-degree experience.” Agency: Inspira.