Would it be a terrible idea to ban alcohol promotions?
I was filming again with the BBC today, on the subject of tactical brands (or trade drivers, or whatever you want to call them). These are inexpensive wines that are dressed up to look like, say, £10 bottles, and which are then sold ‘half price’ for £5. Consumers love them, but I think it’s a somewhat dubious practice. What happens when someone buys the wine at full price? And do sales of these wines cannibalize those of wines sold at a genuine price?
The problem with deep discounts and price promotion is that it’s the lazy way to sell wine. Go down a supermarket aisle and the only buying cues for punters are the money-off stickers and shelf barkers. We’re becoming a nation of promotion junkies.
What would happen if price promotions on alcohol were banned? Retailers would have to think of new ways of merchandising wine. Wine could still be sold cheaply (for example, a clearance line), but the original price would not be displayed. And it would be illegal to refer to competitors pricing (a sort of back-door promotion). I think it might be a good thing.