Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Spain: I was clearing out some old WSJs today and I came across an ad I'd meant to comment on weeks ago. "Spain -- A Friend from Europe" is the theme of the half-page "Do business in Spain" ad, featuring a handsome (and not too swarthy! Spaniard making a welcoming gesture next to a Spanish high-speed train. Here's the NY Post on the campaign:
The ad taps into a current trend among U.S. consumers, who are turning away from French wines, industry observers said.

Rich Cartiere, editor and publisher of Wine Market Report in Calistoga, California, said wine retailers and restaurant owners have become wary of keeping many French wines on their lists because they are afraid consumers will want alternatives . . . When measured by volume, French wines sold in U.S. supermarkets fell 15.5 percent in the first half of the year from a year earlier, according to Cartiere. By contrast, Spanish wine sales rose 20.5 percent in the first half from a year earlier, he said.

Smart for the Spaniards to take advantage of this. Even the catchphrase "A Friend from Europe" seems like a slap at the French, noting, perhaps, that some in Europe are not friendly. And, in a sly tip toward the Aznar government's steadfast support of our Iraq policy, the feature copy reads, "Friends will always give their best." (Is the Spanish train a dig at France, too? Remember how France got such a big charge out of having the TGV? Never mind that the damn thing did laps at 300 kph with nowhere to go but Lyon or Marseille or Brussels -- woohoo! -- and still took nearly as long as driving your Peugeot.)

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