By Musty Bunches | 20 May 2002
The summer months may not be the best time to discover your superhero status, after all a cape and PVC catsuit can play havoc with a girl's constitution as the sun threatens to make an appearance, but Musty is never one to shun the call of the needy. She has heard Allied Domecq may be calling on her to do just that, if she wants to qualify as a target drinker these days. And after all there are so many evils to combat, holy cola wars in Asia, exploding en primeur prices.
The fact that Allied Domecq missed out on any of the offal from the decomposing body that was Seagram doesn't mean that we shouldn't take it seriously. Oh no. In fact, the company is very anxious for us all to know that it is Still A Big Player.
Not only has it spent millions of pounds on large wineries in the last 12 months - some of them even producing a product vaguely recognisable as wine - but it is even preparing to take on one of the drinks industry's biggest brands head to head. This, though, is obviously Top Secret information, and Musty expects her readers to be discreet in how they use it.
Last month, surrounded by the sort of high-level secrecy normally only associated with the launch of a new space shuttle, or the nocturnal activities of a US President, AD held a Very Important series of one-to-one interviews with key industry figures. Their purpose: to announce the arrival of Tia Lusso.
Tia Lusso is a radical new arrival on the drinks scene. We have never seen anything like it before. It will change the face of modern drinking. At least, that's what Musty was told. The fact that you could make it yourself at home by tipping a spoonful of cream into Tia Maria doesn't detract from its effectiveness. Sometimes genius is so simple.
Its intention is to take on Baileys in a square fight, with no kicking, scratching or spitting, in its search for the perfume-drenched Cream Liqueur Championship of the world. And it will do this by targeting Batgirls.
Now before you write in and say that a consumer base consisting of one fictional superheroine is not likely to have UDV shaking in its shoes, understand that Batgirls is the name that AD has given to 25-year-old single women.
- Is it because they hang upside down from doorframes in their trendy urban bedsits?
- Is it because they emit high-pitched squeaks to guide themselves round dimly-lit nightclubs?
- Is it because they have large translucent ears, specially adapted to mobile phone use?
No, it's because they come out at night and, er… that's it. Brilliant…
Somewhere in Gotham city, the evil Baileys brand manager is laughing into his profit margins…
You have to be careful with marketing soundbites, of course. Last week, Musty was talking to the Californian bulk wine producer, Delicato, which has belatedly realised that the real money to be made nowadays is in bottled, branded wines rather than in anonymous tankers of glug. As such, they are keen that everyone knows that they can make good serious wine, well worth the Californian price tag.
"We are particularly excited about Wine X," said the marketeer "It's a single vineyard wine from our San Bernabe vineyard in Monterey."
The fact that this single vineyard, at 12,000 acres, is the size of a small central European country and even has its own airplane landing strip is, presumably, neither here nor there.
Bombs, chaos, terrorists, splinter groups. Is Musty about to get all Middle Eastern on us? Of course not. We are talking Nepal here, where Coca-Cola has just had its bottling line blown up by terrorists. It's the second such attack on the purveyor of liquid sugar in the country this year, and Coke's sources fear it won't be the last.
"These men are ruthless fanatics," said a fictional Coca-Cola spokesman. "Today it's our bottling line, but tomorrow it could be suicide bombers and nuclear warheads. We call on President Bush to send our forces in - once we tell him where Nepal is."
Though intelligence sources officially claim that the attack was the work of Maoist rebels, Musty prefers the less boring theory of a splinter group of hardline Pepsi fundamentalists engaged in a soft drinks holy war.
And finally, as the first Bordeaux en primeur prices start to hit the market, Musty would like to urge her readers to put their scepticism to one side, think positive and unchain their wallets. However stratospherically high the prices, and however patchy the quality, just remember that this is the second best vintage of the millennium, and pedigree like that doesn't come cheap…
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