Why must nearly every marketing campaign aimed at women portray them as either stressed-out moms or wanting to lose weight? The latest evidence to hit the shelves is a growing number of female-focused wines and alcoholic beverages being sold at supermarkets and you guessed it, Target. Just in time for Mother's Day, a new three-shelf display, laden with bottles of MommyJuice, was strategically placed near Target's checkout. To perpetuate the image of the ever-so-in-need-of something-to-take-the-edge-off Cocktail Mom, the name was created by a wine industry exec whose young children pointed to her wine glass, proclaiming, "That's Mommy's Juice!"
MommyJuice hit the stores at a time when the Skinnygirl brand has already impacted the industry by tailoring alcoholic beverages to women with a line that includes ready to serve margaritas, reduced-calorie wine, vodka, sangria, a white cranberry cosmo and read to drink pina colada.
It's true that women have become an essential target segment for the wine industry when it comes to marketing -- 53 percent of wine drinkers in the U.S. are women, according to the Wine Market Council, and last year, women matched men as "core drinkers," those who drink wine at least once a week. But why does it all have to boil down to being either skinny or stressed?
After Sex in the City turned the Cosmopolitan into the must-order cocktail for the ladies, it initiated an association with women and specific drinks, and now wine labels like MommyJuice and Skinnygirl are taking the ball and running with the notion of emotional connections with booze. Additional alcoholic beverages, like Voli Light Vodka (which, by the way, keeps calories in check by limiting sugars and keeping it at 60 proof, compared to 80 proof) and wines -- like Mommy's Time Out and Little Black Dress -- are joining the growing list of labels that are aimed at women buyers.
To add further insult to the marketing mayhem, last year, two wine companies got in a legal spat over use of the word "mommy.'' The California maker of MommyJuice asked a judge to declare that the name of its product doesn't infringe on the trademark of Mommy's Time Out, a wine from Italy. Both also have almost identical phrasing on their web sites: the MommyJuice website coos "because you deserve it,'' and Mommy's Time Out says "you deserve a break.''
Industry execs say that labels like the MommyJuice brand -- sold not only in Target stores in Northern California, but also in select Safeway stores, Stew Leonards and Brakett's Market in Bath, Maine, among others -- are conducive to food retail sales because women with children are its target market. Clos LaChance, the family-run winery that produces MommyJuice, aims to reach supermarket customers with materials that read, "Made for Mom's Who Have Survived the Grocery Store Temper Tantrum."
Some retail operations, like Neimann Foods in Chicago, carry other "mommy wine" brands. The chain, which operates 41 stores under the County Market and Cub Foods banners, is also evaluating "Ivana B Skinny" RTD cocktails, and "Be" wines. Produced by an Australian-based wine producer, "Be" wine comes in four flavors, each of which appeals to the (female) buyer's mood or personality. There's "Be Flirty," a pink moscato; "Be Bright," pinot grigio; "Be Fresh," chardonnay and "Be Radiant," riesling.