CREATIVE STRATEGY: Nicolas could turn their vintage ads into something delicious
Home deliveries are now so ingrained in the retail landscape that for people of my grown-up children's generation, it must be hard to imagine what life was like before.
Nicolas: artwork for the French wine merchant
"What, you mean you couldn’t just order stuff online and get it delivered? No way!"
When all this was new, Tesco and Sainsbury's had their traditional strategic battles. The former won. As usual.
The John Lewis Partnership was worried that the home delivery business might fall on its behind and infect the main brands, hence Ocado.
But the story had a happy ending and Waitrose wagons are now as common a sight on our high streets as the retail outlet itself.
Of course, internet-ordering aside, none of this really was new.
My mother, when she was a young mum in Sheffield, fondly recalls the butcher, baker (and candlestick-maker if there’d been one) cheerfully delivering their goods to her home, saving her the struggle of being weighed down with all the shopping for her brood as well the brood themselves.
So it was no surprise when the big grocers finally got their act together on the home delivery front.
What has surprised me is how few other retailers have followed suit. Some purchases are surely a natural for home deliveries? Like wine. It’s heavy, expensive and comes in breakable packaging. It seems the assumption is that we all spend our lives in a shiny 4x4. Not so.
Take my area. At the high-end, Wimbledon Wine definitely get customer service and happily deliver at a time and day to suit their customers.
Then there’s Nicolas. The eponymous French family opened their first Parisian stores in 1821. In 1922, they invented Nectar – not the loyalty card but an advertising icon – a delivery boy with 24 wine bottles in his hands.
Not only would his skinny frame and moustache be fashionable today, but also his service ethic.
You’ll find all the UK Nicolas stores within the M25. Recently acquired by Spirited Wines in the person of Benoît Thouvenin, the franchise has no doubt suffered from being shunted round the drinks business like pass-the-parcel.
Threshers, Unwins, Victoria Wine, Wine Rack, Oddbins, Castel Frères (the owner of Nicholas on the Continent) all had a crack.
Perhaps now the new owner will take a leaf out of history (as recorded in the store’s own magazine) and bring back avant-garde ads with a single-minded, charming, relevant idea – we deliver.
Simon S Kershaw is a creative consultant and a former creative director at Craik Jones
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