I'm surprised when South Australians are surprised.
David Washington seemed bemused in his article in InDaily on Wednesday that, since the 1970s, we have been complaining about Rundle Mall.
Yet from day one, South Australians have been obsessed with not just having their say, but having the hubris to suggest the average Joe Blow knows better than professionally trained, experienced surveyors, architects and designers.
Although we were established as a unique colony free from religious or political persecution, with such liberty came a license to labor every decision, to navel scratch and chin wag until any agent of change virtually gave up.
Poor old William Light who, given just a few months to determine a site for the new city and start surveying it before Proclamation in December 1936, was blocked every step of the way. Nearly 12 months after the first landing at Glenelg, after Adelaide city's visionary grid pattern was nearly complete, after people had established lives and businesses, dissenting meddlers such as Strangways and Stevenson were still bellowing in Governor Hindmarsh's ear that the city should be relocated to Victor Harbor or Port Lincoln.
Light would eventually resign his commission and die a broken, tubercular anti-hero due to the constant barrage of ill-informed, amateur opinion... and yet we now laud him as our visionary founder.
South Australia's communication agencies have just finished rushing around tendering for one of the state's prize projects in 2014 – the branding and marketing of the "new" Rundle Mall.
It is a very exciting communication challenge, which will start with market research to determine public attitudes not just about the Mall, but also how we all interact with the adjacent North Terrace cultural precinct and the East End more broadly.
It has taken 40 years to correct the original oversights of the Mall and project a fresh image for this important central retail precinct. It has also taken several decades to give North Terrace the international feel it always deserved. Bookended at one end by the new Royal Adelaide Hospital and the sensational SAHMRI building, and at the other by the precious stretch of Victorian sandstones and potentially a new art gallery, it will indeed be a world-class cultural boulevard.
For once in our 177 year history, wouldn't it be great if we as citizens agreed with the repeated plaudits from travel writers about the livability and attractiveness of our state and welcomed our new Mall rather than maintaining that old hobby of shooting – then aiming.
Why would anyone in the world want to visit Adelaide?
This is one of those questions I was mulling over from my God-like perspective of an uncomfortable armchair at 30,000 feet a few weeks ago. Passing over places such as Omsk and Chelyabinsk and Nizhny on the vast silk route between London and Hong Kong, Adelaide fades into a tiny speck of grit on the Cathay Pacific video screen.
But just after we touched down I was surprised to find that Adelaide has been ranked Number 9 in the world's most popular cities by Lonely Planet, mainly because of our cool inner city lane way bar culture and our impressive new Adelaide Oval.
We've just returned from a couple of weeks in London and Barcelona and judging by the crowds we jostled with, it is not McDonalds or Burger King or Zara which draws millions of tourists to these ancient cities – it is the chance to "bucket list" culture. Certainly recreational retail therapy is amusing for some. Trying out new restaurants and local taste sensations is fun. But frankly if you were going to London for the food or Barcelona for the wine, then you probably wouldn't leave home.
We went to London for the Tate Modern, the Saatchi, the "gherkin" at St Mary's Axe, the National Gallery and The Eye. In Barcelona we went to see Gaudi's Sagrada Família and La Pedrera and the Picasso Museum and the Torre Agbar.
So when we stepped back into our beautiful, blindingly blue sky (which it seems we only recognise when we get off planes) we were at first disappointed by the sad dotted eucalypts and sand colored concrete plaza at our airport. Appropriate for Alice Springs maybe but how does this provide what should be a welcome to a truly Mediterranean city down under. A little vineyard might provide a more verdant surprise for the few OS visitors who do make the trek down here.
But then we drove past the exciting SAHMRI building on North Terrace and felt genuinely proud of this contemporary architectural statement and the white bulge of the new Adelaide Oval rising up behind it in the distance. Down our cultural boulevard – the University, Library, Art Gallery – and one feels that we have got this right, a proud reflection of our cultural and colonial roots that a lot of other similarly aged cities have bowled over in the name of progress.
Having been involved over the last two years in a project to reclaim Adelaide's identity as the Wine Capital of Australia and also participating in the State re-branding research and development, we do have much to offer in terms of creativity, innovation and industriousness, and those little bars and cafes in Peel Street and Leigh Street are public symbols of that.
But we can't fool ourselves. London, which has a population of about 8 million, attracts nearly twice that number of visitors every year. And even that incredible achievement has been surpassed by Bangkok, which is now the world's number one tourism city according to the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index with 15.96 million international visitors annually.
So we can't rest on our Number 9 laurels. The next big move to truly put Adelaide on the world map is not the Kensington roundabout or even the 22nd century transport plan (underground train systems are so yesterday's).
No, the real change catalyst will be the decision made about the old Royal Adelaide Hospital eye sore site. We've got one bullet left in the breech. This is our one chance to make an architectural and artistic statement which will indeed internationalise Adelaide. Nick Mitzevich wants to open up the whole of the Art Gallery of SA's collection on the new site, which is great - but why don't we all lift our gaze from our navels about the building which will house this. We don't need to renovate the infected old dumps that are there and plant a tropical garden!
We do need to talk to a Guggenheim or Saatchi to co-invest in building Australia's greatest contemporary gallery. Did Leon Bignell raise this possibility with Fleurieu Art Prize guest judge and Saatchi Gallery Director Nigel Hurst last week? With Saatchi hosting a contemporary Australian art exhibition in London next year (brokered by the said Mr Mitzevich) surely the foundation stone is almost laid?
Of course there will be the predictable wails that we don't have the cash. But we didn't think we had the $575 million to build a new Adelaide Oval or the $1.8 billion to build a new hospital either.
I doubt the UK economy was in great shape after Trafalgar and the battle of Waterloo but the government managed to erect Nelson's Column. Spain remains resolutely unemployed, but billions are injected into Barcelona and Bilboa every year by people like us happy to shell out 20 or 30 Euros to stare at wonders of the world.
The MCA works on Sydney's Circular Quay. Art has worked at Hobart's MONA. Wouldn't it be something to have a world class gallery and architectural statement in Adelaide. It is time this government (or the next) builds on our wine capital status - because that is certainly unique in Australian terms and will continue to draw more Asian tourists here - by making Adelaide an art and architecture capital as well.
Can you think of a better thing to hang our hats on?
Whilst researching mobile ecommerce solutions for wineries, FULLER reviewed 87 Australian wine brands currently selling their wine online.
We were staggered that only seven (8.1%) had mobile friendly websites meaning that potential customers of just over an alarming 9 out of 10 from our sample group had the unpleasant experience of zooming in, out and around their screens to read content and worse still, complete their wine purchase on their smartphones or tablets.
Interestingly, this statistic was spread across small to large wine brands.
So, what does this mean and does it matter?
Anecdotally we have spoken with our wine friends (without mobile optimised sites) who have become concerned of poor conversion rates from their email and Facebook campaigns. They are finding that people are clicking on posts and emails but then soon drop off and fail to complete wine purchases. Now, when you consider that globally 45% of people open emails on the mobiles and 40% of Facebook daily active use happens in people’s hands could non-mobile optimised be playing a major part in this lost opportunity? (Email Client Market Share – Litmus Email Analytics, August 2013 and Facebook Reports Second Quarter 2013 Results, July 24 2013).
According to recent research from Google, the third biggest barrier for people not buying on their mobiles was it being “too complicated”. (Our Mobile Planet: Australia, May 2013).
There are countless statistics showing the rise of online purchases from smartphones and tablets (in the infamous words of Clive Palmer, “Just Google it”).
We have mentioned smartphones AND tablets but it is important that wine brands consider both (and not JUST smartphones). Tablet ownership is on a steep rise (with PC and laptops on the decline) and more importantly, recent Adobe research shows that consumers are almost twice as likely to purchase from large touchscreens than their smaller cousins. (2013 Digital Publishing Report: Retail Apps & Buying Habits, January 2013).
So, why was FULLER doing this research again? Whilst upgrading the websites of our wine clients, we wanted to see whether there was a need or opportunity to package our affordable mobile ecommerce website solution for others in the industry. Well, we concluded that there was so we have.
It was encouraging though that a number of the wineries we contacted were in the process of rebuilding their websites to make them attractive to mobile users. The hard sell: If you are looking to upgrade your online store (or website) to make it easy for people to browse and buy your wine on their iPhone, iPad, Android or Windows devices then we would love to give you a demo in person or by Skype.
For more information please contact Gavin Klose.
Why do you do what you do? Why did you start doing what you do? Why do you continue to get up in the morning and do it again and again? Why should your customers be attracted to your products?
It's an interesting technique, introduced to me by our brand strategist Gavin Klose, and the more we use this with clients the more we help to demystify the constructed complexity that exists around branding. Like Max von Pettenkofer who drank cholera bacteria to help discover a cure (he later shot himself after a not surprising bout of depression), self experimentation is one way of testing a theory.
When Gavin asked me "why" it became clear that FULLER's brand DNA is all about story telling. I've been a professional writer for more than 30 years and I take a lot of joy out of crafting text which reflects the heart and soul of individuals. Whether they are farmers or fishermen, winemakers or welders, scientists or sausage makers I always feel privileged to enter their lives, listen deeply to them and re-tell their story. Often I get the response - "I didn't realise I sounded that good" - and while I like to take a little poetic license, essentially my work is done when they smile shyly at that shock of proud self-knowledge.
Why do I do it? There is definitely something visceral about it. My father was a farmer who would rather dig 100 postholes than write a letter – but he was a great pub listener to stories from the flotsam and jetsam of country life that he delighted in re-telling. My brother is a builder and a terrific yarn-smith. I like words, placing one after another in lines and paragraphs and pages, in a construct that is both original and hopefully arresting.It's clearly genetic.
I believe a brand is a story and our role as brand communication specialists is to reach into the heart of that story, pluck out its essential message and then explode it to the world. These days we use everything from YouTube and Twitter to clever advertising design and media campaigns to tell that story. But the basics are still the same as when I worked in newspapers and had a Remington typewriter on my desk instead of a MacBook Pro with the 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and 6MB of shared L3 cache and Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3GHz.
Next time you see a brand such as McDonalds or Coke or GMH, close your eyes and think of the story. Brylcreemed Richard and Maurice McDonald who started a barbecue restaurant in San Bernardino, California in 1940. John Pemberton who invented the patent medicine Coca-Cola. The Adelaide based Holden saddlery family who made Australia's first car in 1948.
Thinking of building your brand in these competitive times.
What's your story?
- Peter Fuller.
Since the over hyped media circus about Spring Gully’s financial problems, there has been a lot of focus on ‘Eat Local’. The campaign generated by Food SA, encourages South Australians to put our hard earned dollars back into locally owned and operated food businesses.
With our economy recently ranked as the worst performing of all mainland states I’m wholeheartedly behind any movement that assists in keeping South Australians employed and keeps the dollars bouncing around our state borders.
But it’s sad to see that this sentiment hasn’t been adopted by the very businesses and organisations that scream the loudest.
I read recently that the Paech family from Hahndorf re-branded their famous Beerenberg range of jams and spreads.
Great idea I thought. A timely refresh, nice cottage feel to fire up shelf appeal in a fast moving marketplace and improve their presence when their old competitor Spring Gully was getting some limelight.
Then to my disappointment I read on to find that Beerenberg had chosen to employ a Sydney based graphic design agency to work on this important project.
Anthony Paech, who is also the Food SA Chair, should be acutely aware of the push to support SA business with their Eat Local campaign. So why go east where higher fees don’t necessarily mean better quality.
I also just this week received a note from another local successful food producer informing me that after several months of diligent creative pitching and idea generation we were the bridesmaids – for their rebranding, graphic design and public relations campaign – to a Sydney creative agency.
Another proud member of Food SA. Another project lost across the border.
Of course everyone is entitled to spend their marketing dollars wherever they like and I’m sure both organisations had a reason beyond my parochial understanding.
However, if the South Australian food industry wants us all to eat their food, instead of generic supermarket brands made from imported product, they might want to think about practicing what they preach.
Buying local doesn’t just extend to pickles and pork belly – it means giving every business a fair go.
There are more than 150 fantastic graphic design agencies in Adelaide that produce work of an international standard.
Some of our local food producers might want to check out the menu: http://sa.agda.com.au/ the next time they want to add some extra flavour to their brand.
by Hayley Conolly, FULLER Digital Communications Consultant
No matter how successful you are at marketing and communications, ensuring your employees are ambassadors for your brand is vital in today’s fickle ‘on-line word of mouth’ era. It's not just the BBQ where unhappy employees can whinge - it's also Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine...
There are plenty of articles on how to harness the power of social media to ‘leverage’ your staff, but LinkedIn training and a signed social media policy does not equal an employee brand ambassador.
It runs much deeper than this – a brand’s values, culture, education and processes all play an important role in creating authentic brand champions.
The ultimate goal is for your customers (and potential customers) to have a positive experience with every touchpoint of your brand - not just the receptionist or sales staff.
Whether it’s a cheerful logistics manager keeping their cool with a distributor or a cellar door manager lending an umbrella to a bedraggled boozehag, these little things can make all the difference to reputation management and ultimately your bottom line.
5 Ways To Make Minions Happy
People identify with brands that hold a similar value proposition to their own internal beliefs. It’s this ‘personification’ of a brand that makes businesses awesome. What does your company stand for? Does your business prioritise Corporate Social Responsibility? Flexible hours for families? You’re more likely to retain employees if you’re meeting their needs.
Fun, fun, fun
Okay, so not every office can have a Google-esque jungle gym and day-spa but an early minute on a Friday, a surprise chocolate cake or a knock-off drink goes a long way for fostering a happy work environment. Actual beer and Skittles couldn’t hurt either. It’s these little rays of sunshine that keep the team going through the tough times. A great company culture should reflect the brand values – living it – not just empty words in a strategy document.
A strong human resource system in place will allow for employees to love their job – and people who love their job are going to shout it from the rooftops. Providing regular positive and constructive feedback, performance reviews, setting clear KPIs, providing support for growth and training all contribute to making your employees feel valued.
It starts with listening. Welcome and incorporate feedback – because even if you don’t agree with it, your employees still believe it and they’re still telling everyone they meet about it. Sticking your head in the sand won’t help anyone. Involve employees in decision making: co-contribution can have some great results (think of Despicable Me’s ‘Fart Gun’ – Genius!) Transparency doesn’t need to be seen as a sign of weakness. Explain WHY things are happening. Facebook’s CEO Sheryl Sandberg cites Starbucks as an example - when the coffee giant was on the verge of bankruptcy, management pulled everyone into a room and through the support of the employees hard work they turned things around.
Educate and Empower
Traditionally, brand management has been left to the marketing people, but it shouldn’t just fall on their shoulders. How can you expect your employees to hold your core brand values true when they’re saved in some Word document that hasn’t been opened since 2008? Talk openly and often about the company story, the mission and values so everyone sings from the same hymn sheet.
Have you noticed that not a day goes by when you find you are being assaulted by wine deals – brochures which offer a dozen unknown reds for $99.99 drop out of the Weekend Australian every Saturday morning; phone SMS messages alert me to deals of the week; and Wine Market tells me droll stories of export shipments that didn't make it and now represent sensational bargains. If you're like me you're probably wedded to your favourites bottles based on price and quality, and rarely buy promiscuously - but millions of people do.
A lot of this wine marketing is the work of a company called Cellarmasters, which was a very clever idea by a bloke called David Thomas. Long before on-line retailing, David was bemused by the Sunday Times Wine Club while visiting London and came home to Australia and started his own mail–order wine company in 1982. In 1996 he sold it to Fosters for $160 million, and being a very nice man, established The Thomas Foundation which gives away millions a year to conservation and the environment.
Like everything else in Australia that is not securely bolted down, Cellarmasters has since been purchased by Woolworths and now represents one of the largest door to door delivery networks in the country alongside Australia Post. It is also the perfect example of vertical integration as Cellarmasters/Woolworths now has its own vineyards, its own winery (in the Barossa) and alternative marketing outlet through Dan Murphys, Australia's largest wine retailer.
Anyway it was interesting to learn yesterday in Smart Company that Cellarmasters has been pinged $110,000 for not having an Unsubscribe button on one of its wine newsletters.
I have no wish to gloat – Cellarmasters and Wine Market provide a valuable service to consumers and are extremely important marketing partners to many of Australia beleaguered wine companies who would quite possibly have gone broke (or drunk themselves to death) without them.
But it acts as an important warning to every business which is embracing e-newsletters as a tool of communication. The Australian Communications and Media Authority take a very dim (and expensive) view of unsolicited spam and it behoves all marketers to devote adequate resources to managing their databases and monitoring newsletter responses. It's all part of having a strategy to integrate your e-comms into your overarching brand communication plan rather than seeing it as a last minute blast before you go to the pub on Fridays…which of course you could talk to us about (the strategy, not the pub).
Anyway to add an element of humour to the parting of the ways, you might even like to try this latest unsubscribe video from HubSpot. Clever…and you could just change their minds.
- Peter Fuller.
It was that day in April when SA food producer Spring Gully announced it had gone into administration.
I can't forget the ABC TV News headline. Sitting on the right shoulder of the cherub-faced anchor, alongside a photograph of a jar of the familiar yellow mustard condiment, were the words "In a Pickle".
This flippant insensitivity about the potential demise of a long standing South Australian company might have led to the ABC sub-editor having his ears boxed, but it was a fairly predictable media response in a punch drunk economy which is seeing small businesses bite the dust on a weekly basis.
However, who could have foreseen the sensational turnaround for the multi-generational company, largely the result of a well orchestrated and sublimely managed PR campaign waged on Spring Gully's behalf.
Normally cynical morning radio jocks started tearily calling for the community to rush out and buy a jar of cocktail gherkins (whether you needed them or not). The daily paper ran recipes using Spring Gully products (oysters kilpatrick?). Local retailers took full page advertisements proudly showing off their loyalty to Spring Gully and slamming the big two food retailers.
The result – a level of consumer hysteria which has not been seen in this state since Baileys Irish Cream was rationed in the 1980s.
Now no-one feels sorrier than me for the Webb family of Spring Gully and their financial problems. I can think of few more captivating meals than a slash of that golden pickle across a slice of lamb enfolded in fresh Tanunda Apex Bakery bread and Farmer's Union butter.
But when a business says that it had no idea how much people loved its brand until it was on its death bed; when it is using a label that is so old fashioned that it is almost retro-contemporary; when it started a Facebook page only days before administration; then such disasters can't be blamed entirely on Coles or Woolworths or the Australian dollar or Julia Gillard.
The way Spring Gully has pulled itself back from the brink at the eleventh hour will become a case study in public relations for many years to come.
But it is not advisable as an effective marketing strategy unless you have a strong heart.
Compare Spring Gully's previous brand strategy with fellow Adelaide Hills food processor Beerenberg's decades of consistent PR appearances, consumer tastings, constantly tweaked label and package design, proactive social media and online activity and targeted advertising. Same duopolised retail market. Same consumer challenges (a population that hasn't embraced pickles since World War II). Same Australian dollar. But very different story.
Then there's the other leading condiment producer in South Australia, Maggie Beer. Maggie produces the same pickles and jams and sauces as Spring Gully albeit with a twist of preserved lemon here or sprig of thyme there. But it's her commitment to the brand and brand communication which has made Maggie Beer Farm Products famous, not the Barossa quinces and quail livers.
In her mid 60s Maggie is an impressive dervish of 30-something bubbling energy, constantly travelling, smiling, laughing and pausing to have conversations with people, touching, kissing, signing autographs, sharing recipes. She is across the brand from tasting the latest trial recipes to tweaking new packaging concepts and labels designs and commenting on adventurous advertising concepts. She is a walking, talking marketing machine and she deserves her 30 years "overnight" success.
Whether the sudden re-kindled interest by consumers in Spring Gully's range of products is sustainable, is now up to the company's marketing team. When the love affair wanes, the national thirst for worcestershire sauce will not have changed and in this extremely competitive niche food sector proving their ongoing point of difference with a consistent brand strategy will be the only way to avoid another pickle.
- Peter Fuller
Is it already a month since our Government launched the new brand image for the state? Now that the madness of March is over and Renniks are wondering how to achieve cash flow for the rest of the year and the pop-ups have popped down and we've enjoyed another couple of public holidays, it seems the red and grey doorway has settled on our shoulders like a meandering autumn leaf.
Despite the state brand process being a model of typically South Australian consultative hand wringing (not surprisingly every second loose cannon in the state tried to shoot it down) I thought it came up with a nice, neat, uncomplicated icon with which to locate us in the world (the brief after all).
But brands are not logos or images. For a mindless radio announcer to suggest that an art competition amongst the state's primary school children could have come up with a better, cheaper brand, irritatingly misses the whole point.
Brands are stories…and they only work when they are honest and authentic and true, and are told from the heart over and over again.
For most of the last six months our agency has been involved in a parallel branding exercise for the state's wine industry. Like Premier Weatherill (who was introduced as the Premier of NSW in London last year) our winemakers have always struggled to gain an awareness internationally of where the bloody hell we are? Being confused with South Africa was also unhelpful.
So rather than trying to brand our wine industry as South Australian (which is not ideal for our mainly premium output when the vast majority of under $10 beverage booze comes from the irrigated regions known generically as South-Eastern Australia) we chose to focus on our prettily-named city Adelaide, positioning it quite rightly as the Wine Capital of Australia.
We have created a brand identity – a typographical reflection of the name which we will use with an application of the state brand identity.
But the real Adelaide Wine Capital brand activation will come from the story – that we do irrefutably produce 72% of the country's premium wine; that great wine discoveries were made here by people like Max Schubert and Ray Beckwith and Wolf Blass; that we have about 200 cellar doors within an hour of Adelaide; that we have been the educational, economic and political headquarters of the Australian wine sector since the late 1800s.
After a successful launch in Leigh Street in late March to explain the story to the media and opinion-makers, we will now start distributing a range of cellar door marketing materials including colourful drink coasters and stickers. We have also created web based YouTube promos and a tenacious Twitter, Instagram and Facebook campaign.
And we have launched that most ubiquitous of modern storytelling devices, a Smartphone App 365 DAYS OF WINE AND FOOD which lists wine and food events for every day of the year.
Out of the nearly 2 million iPhone and Android Apps out there in the ether, ours is certainly not the most complicated. But then our company is not into making Apps for short attention span teenagers – we are utilising this technology (where once we might have used homing pigeons or hill-top fires) to convey a message and create positive communication outcomes for an industry we care deeply about.
It's easy enough to say that Adelaide is a world wine capital, like it is easy enough to say a brand of car is the most prestigious.
But the real branding comes from proving that premise – in our case that every day is a wine and food day in South Australia.
Before that new State brand icon gets too comfortable, like a two month old cardigan, the state's marketing experts would be well advised to get on with the story telling if they want to change the way we are seen…and the way we see ourselves.
- Peter Fuller
For makers and marketers of wine, beware - the first major shots in a strategic new communication war of attrition have been fired.
The first howitzer was a mid February Sunday Mail story with an impressive graphic postulating that wine bottles will have cigarette type labels in the near future. It flushed out a few predictable Adelaide wowsers tut-tutting about the demon drink, and fortunately quite a few defenders of an industry which generates more than 10,000 jobs in this state stood up to be counted (including the CEO of Business SA, Nigel McBride). But the image was disturbing and the argument for draconian wine labelling effectively publicised.
Last Monday the second cannonade screamed across the bow - a Four Corners investigation into the cost (financial, emotional, medical) of alcohol fuelled violence.
It's hard to argue against a wheel chair bound, brain dead young lad who was king-hit by a boozed thug a few years ago. It's hard to take exception to a concerned doctor who has to pick up the pieces of a night on the tiles...or an exasperated judge whose time is wasted with petty violence.
But was the thug a product of a national alcohol culture or a family culture, which he acknowledged, had encouraged him "never to back down from a fight?
Were the disgraceful scenes of drunken fighting a product of alcohol or a product of a society where a wrestle is not enough. Thanks to a pre-school diet of computer gaming and an addiction to stylised media violence, a "street scuffle" is now a king hit followed by a head stomping.
The Australian wine industry is not a purveyor of violence.
For more than 20 years it has boldly advertised its position on alcohol consumption by voluntarily calling for moderation on every single bottle label. Nearly every producer suggests that their wine should be enjoyed with food - often recommending dishes and recipes. Most cellar doors provide food and water to enjoy with their tastings so that the overall experience wineries offer is one of sensory enjoyment rather than guzzling.
Wine is certainly grape alcohol but it is much more than that:
- it is an industry which has been one of the greatest saviours to many parts of regional Australia in the last 20 years and managed to keep threatened rural communities alive and strong;
- it is a youthful primary sector with a future - while the average age of grain farmers is 56, the average age of a winemaker or grape grower is the late 30s;
- it is our state's second biggest income earner after copper and uranium mining, and adds more than $4 billion a year to our not exactly flush national economy;
- it is one of the world's greatest value added industries providing jobs and small business opportunities in everything from barrel cooperage and bottle and glass manufacturing to smart manufacturing and precision agriculture;
- it projects a contemporary, sophisticated and global brand image for our tiny state of 1.6 million people down here in the Antipodes;
- it is the single most important tourist attraction in South Australia (next to Kangaroo Island), ensuring internationals and interstaters actually come here and part with their cash;
- and finally it is healthy. Not only does red wine contain proven components which protect against heart disease but it also helps improve one's mental attitude and pre-disposition to stress. In fact even the most ardent non-drinkers have "taken" a glass of red wine (at their doctor's recommendation) for centuries.
Australia in general (and South Australia in particular) has few enough smart industries enabling us to export value added products northwards, and share in the Asian century.
Wine is one of the very limited arsenal of products which we do as well, if not better, than the Europeans and Americans. And our close proximity means newly-westernised Asian wine lovers will flock to our cellar doors and B&Bs rather than the fusty old vineyards of France - and the yuan they leave behind will stave off the likelihood of becoming the white trash of the East.
So all I ask is that the earnest temperance campaigners who gather to plan the anti-alcohol lobby's future salvo please consider this:
Enjoying a civilised glass of a natural beverage which has been around since Egyptian times with a meal, is not the same as tossing down a row of shooter glasses filled with 40% proof spirit, or emptying a dozen stubbies of 5% beer down one's throat at the cricket- or for that matter smoking a packet of 20 carcinogenic tubes of tobacco.
Balance and common sense please.
- Peter Fuller.