Italian for Summer: An Interview with Jennifer Wiza, VP of Strategy & Planning at RPM Advertising.
By Jeff Finkle
AdForum: Congratulations on RPM’s new client, Riondo Prosecco. I have to say we are big fans of Prosecco at AdForum. Riondo seems like a cool brand to work with and your social campaign with an Italian summer lifestyle theme looks like it’s going to be a fun way for consumers to get more involved with the brand. As the strategist on the campaign, what was the biggest challenge for you in creating a campaign that would give consumers the most enjoyable experience in order to connect with Riondo?
JW: Prosecco is a very hot category right now, and there are established brands with considerable brand awareness. At the same time, Prosecco’s growth is not coming from any particular consumer segment - its growth has been catch-all and very democratic, so our audience spans age and gender. We needed to find a way to set Riondo apart and also appeal to a wide range of consumers. When we looked at Riondo in the context of the category it truly stood out as different. It wasn’t a “special occasion” sparkling wine, it wasn’t fussy or overly refined. One look at its packaging and you can tell that this is a brand that’s a little rustic. It’s all about everyday enjoyment, not just popping the cork on a big day. It’s accessible and effortless, and we believed that there was a unique place for this authentically Italian brand to stand apart.
AdForum: The theme of the social campaign is the Italian summer lifestyle and you are teaming up with PopSugar to help tell the story. Why do you think partnering with Pop Sugar and utilizing branded content was the right fit for telling the story of Riondo prosecco as being authentically Italian?
JW: The “Italian for Summer” theme was inspired by the stylish charm of vintage travel posters. Their depiction of effortless days enjoying life with a splash of style connected with Riondo Prosecco’s rich Italian heritage. The look, the art and theme line all celebrate the brand’s authentic origins as we take people on a playful journey. That said, we needed to bring this to life in a way that was as authentic as the brand, and that meant connecting Riondo with real people who could express how they’re making the brand, and this essence of Italian lifestyle, their own. Branded content enabled this deeper level of engagement and at the same time helps to build the brand in a very organic way because real people are sharing how they’re embracing this lifestyle – whether it’s sharing tips on adding some Italian style to their summer, showing how to make a charcuterie board, or providing recipes to enjoy boozy popsicles.
AdForum: RPM Advertising has a long history of successful relationships within the gaming industry, how do you think your agency’s experience in the world of casino and casino nightlife will come in handy when working with your new client, Riondo Prosecco? Also, are there any perks to working with casino clients, besides a slot machine in your office with a beer tap, which is pretty cool because both you and the house always win?
JW: We live retail every day. We know that it’s all about driving consumers to act, and at the same time developing a brand that resonates and remains relevant when they’re not in the moment of purchase. Gaming is a highly competitive industry where building customer loyalty and repeat “purchase” is embedded into everything we do. It’s a way of thinking that’s woven into how RPM approaches all client assignments. And, yes, we got a ‘Sloterator’ in our office for our 20th anniversary, and it always pays out when you want a beverage, but these days there is also an abundance of Prosecco in our offices as well.
AdForum: How would you best describe the culture at RPM Advertising and how your team works best together when it comes to tackling a new client, like Riondo, that everyone can get excited about?
JW: I think, first and foremost, we enjoy working together and we love a challenge. There’s a type of momentum that builds as everyone tosses their hat in the ring to brainstorm and develop ideas – media, creative, strategy, account service – and we’re constantly building upon one another’s contribution, trying to make it better and push it further. It’s always energizing to work with a new client, but especially so when it involves a brand that everyone can get behind. Our team had the opportunity to build the Riondo brand from the ground up, and it was rich, fertile ground to dig into. In the case of Riondo, we felt it was important to involve a diverse team who could come at the assignment from a variety of angles – to basically build a team as diverse as Prosecco consumers.
AdForum: As a writer myself, I have a great appreciation for anyone who has ever written (and completed a novel) and you have eight YA and adult novels under your belt under a pseudonym (as well as two non-fiction books). How are you able to find time in the day to juggle writing with your job as VP of Strategy for RPM, not to mention carving out family time? Also, I know it’s tough to pick one novel, but if you had to choose one “desert island” book to take with you if you were stuck on a deserted island (or on a really long layover at O’Hare) what would it be? (I know I would have a hard time choosing between Me Talk Pretty One Day and The Hotel New Hampshire.)
JW: I wish I had a secret formula, but the truth is that publisher deadlines go a long way to ensuring that words get written (as well as an agent and editor inquiring about progress). As for my “desert island” book, that’s a tough one because I read about a book a week and if something hasn’t pulled me in within the first 20 pages I usually put it down and move on. So most books I’ve finished are ones I’ve enjoyed. But, since I’m on a deserted island I’d have to say I’d like a book with a title along the lines of “How to Get Off a Desert Island Alive.”