The Mirabeau YouTube miracle


Wine videos on YouTube don’t usually get all that many views. Mine occasionally go into four figures (unless it’s about labradoodles, where I can hit six!), but some recognized wine journos regularly fail to get to 100.

It’s everyone’s dream, of course, that their video will go viral. For Stephen Cronk, of Provence producer Mirabeau, the dream has come true. His video (Mirabeau video #222) has rocked up more than 3 million views (both on YouTube, and the embedded version on his website). It’s a short film (less than a minute), showing how to remove a cork from a bottle without a corkscrew, using a shoe. It’s not the first time that this has been filmed, but Stephen seemed to get the video right (being short helps) and managed to catch the wave.

‘Its success has surprised me as much as anyone else,’ said Stephen when I quizzed him. ’The “shoe method” has probably been known for hundreds of years and I think there are several (if not dozens) of versions on YouTube too.’ So why this one? Us marketing blogger Jennifer Williams has given a very good explanation for the Mirabeau miracle here.

‘My most viewed video before this was “Harvesting olives and making olive oil” which had been viewed around 36,000 times, mainly (according to the YouTube analytics) by Greek males over 65 years of age,’ reports Stephen. ‘So hardly my target audience!’

He adds, ‘What is particularly good is that this is not a video of my crazy dog or cat doing a trick for the camera. It’s a wine related video, from a wine producer and that’s why we’re so pleased that it’s done well.’

But the key question: will this help Mirabeau sell more wine? Not directly: I don’t imaging that many viewers will watch this clip then hit wine-searcher looking for where they can find a bottle of Stephen’s wine. But that’s not the point. From the start Mirabeau have chosen to use social media as their marketing stategy, as I reported here back in 2011.

This video will allow Mirabeau to interact with a lot more people, and build the brand. Mirabeau is a small family business with no outside investors, and without social media would never have been able to dream of this sort of reach. It’s also a scalable brand, not tied to one vineyard. This sort of brand building would normally be incredibly costly.

‘Our YouTube subscribers, Facebook Likes, Twitter and Pinterest followers and Newsletter subscribers have all grown as a result of this and so we now have a much larger base of engaged people to work from for all future content,’ says Stephen. It’s quite a story.

If you are a small winery, social media allows you a chance to play with the big boys. But the Mirabeau miracle shows one further thing: the value of perseverance. Stephen made 221 videos before he hit the big time with this one. These 49 seconds of wildly successful social media were built on years of previous work.

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