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It's about wine.

MARKETING

It's about wine

Expect some Americans to whine about a new wine called Le Vin du Coeur. Its developer, Michel Roux, knows that's likely as bottles begin appearing in stores.

Indeed, in a marketing twist that goes a step beyond previous efforts to target gay men and lesbians, the latest vintage from Cotes de Provence features same-sex couples on two labels and an opposite-sex couple on a third.

The rose, which debuted in July and sells for about $10 a bottle, ships in cases in which four bottles picture men, four feature women, and four show a man and a woman. "This is not a wine I want to sell specifically to the gay market," said Roux, chairman and CEO of Crillon Importers Ltd. in Paramus, N.J. "It is a wine to be sold to the open market." And although two-thirds of the bottles feature a same-sex couple, Roux said, "we are making a statement that everybody is on an equal foot in this world."

The brains behind the successful and gay-friendly Absolut vodka ad campaign, Roux senses a new marketing opportunity. "I was the first to advertise in gay magazines," he said. "When I became successful everybody was in gay magazines. If I am successful with this, other people will want to make the same statement."

Calling Roux "an important guy to watch," gay marketing expert Dave Mulryan predicted he may be starting another trend. "I like the fact that he's not separating everybody out," said Mulryan, president of Mulryan/Nash Advertising.

As for the backlash prospects, Roux simply shrugs. The wine will succeed or fail on its quality, he said, and he's weathered criticism before. "I've gotten the phone calls and letters from the Christian groups saying they're going to boycott all my products," Roux said. "I say, `Go ahead.' I'll be very successful, and I'll make a lot of people happy at the same time."
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Article Details
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Author:Friess, Steve
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 31, 1999
Words:320
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