Wine Drinkers UK represents wine lovers, makers and sellers across England and Wales and campaigns to reduce the onerous tax burden on the wine industry, with duty on wine having increased by 39% since 2010, compared to a rise of just 16% for beer.

Ahead of the 2021 Budget Wine Drinkers UK asked MHP to spearhead its campaign to reverse a planned increase in wine duty by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The
Rules of
Influence

in Action

Rule Three

Arguments are never won, but outcomes are

Our ultimate audience was the Chancellor and his Treasury team – and we recognised that whilst we had to make a persuasive case for the economic benefits of a freeze, it would be just as important to demonstrate that our ask would appeal to the wider public and be in keeping with the Government agenda.

We based our campaign on an understanding that asking for a tax freeze or cut ahead of a Budget would only be successful if it was framed as an economic opportunity. We created a compelling story of how a tax freeze would revive the hospitality sector, saving jobs and creating better outcomes for wine drinkers.

Work

We launched an intense three-month integrated campaign, centred on taking our message directly to the Treasury. But we knew this would not be enough, as other organisations conducted their own lobbying – so we demonstrated broader support across Parliament by building up a bade of advocates. This was complemented by media and social media activity to demonstrate external support for the campaign. This included highlighting the importance of wine to the UK economy and its popularity among drinkers, especially women who would be unfairly penalised by a duty hike. We also transformed WDUK’s social media presence, engaged with new advocates and landed high profile media coverage.

Impact

In March, the Chancellor announced a freeze to all alcohol duties, including wine, for only the third time in twenty years. The Cut Back Wine Tax campaign secured a policy change from the Chancellor at a time when the Government was under immense pressure to balance the books and was being lobbied by a wide range of industries for favourable treatment.

We cut through the noise and conflicting demands by carefully tailoring messages delivered across multiple channels. As a result, wine drinkers are set to save 8p on a 75cl bottle of wine, while wine producers and sellers are cushioned from a costly rise in duty at a time when they are struggling to recover from the impact of the pandemic.

This was achieved through two formal submissions to the Government, supported by extensive media and social media activity. We secured 86 pieces of coverage for five stories, across national, regional and trade titles. All articles reinforced the campaign’s key messages and helped bring balance to the debate. We shared over 200 Tweets, with over 1.8 million impressions, over 170 mentions, over 870 likes and over 290 re-Tweets.