Thursday, February 18, 2010

Foster's Future...Not in My Hands.

The article below provoked a strong reaction from me. This blog entry is a response to the article titled, "Why gen Y might not save Foster's." Here is the link if you would like to read it:

The world renowned company of Foster's, have been running into some financially difficulty due to the economic times. This week, the company suggested, that gen Y or the millenniums, will be the ones to "ride to their rescue." Being 'a millennium' myself, this statement enrages me for many reasons. To start, I agree that gen Y has embraced wine at a younger age but I don't think it will be enough to save an empire. I do not agree that gen Y is prepared to pay higher prices for wine, as the article suggests. In fact, I think it is the opposite. Since we started drinking wine at a younger age, we (as millenniums,) are aware of great value wines for less, especially, in this economic climate, which brings me to point number two.

To suggest millenniums were "raised to have high self-esteem and a sense of entitlement that includes expectations of material success," has some truth to it but given the current economic climate, I think we, as a generation, have had a serious wake-up call. I can attest to this awakening feeling. The times are rough, dream jobs are nowhere to be found. Had you asked me when graduating college, would I ever have difficulty finding work? I would have looked at you with a smirk, replying with a resounding, "No." Maybe it is the self-esteem and confidence this author accuses gen Y of growing up with but if anything is going to get our generation through this financial crisis and back on track with our careers, it's confidence. If we give up now, there is no future.

The article goes on to address the problem with assuming gen Y will save the day, which allows me to relax a little, "..the highest quality segment is the one most exposed to the long-term effects of the global financial crisis..." just like I stated before, the millenniums are not always willing to pay a higher price for wine. It continues to read, "...and the least emotionally prepared to deal with them...Peck warns that the entire gen Y is at risk of being injured by the extended period of high unemployment the global crisis is producing. He cites research that suggests graduates who enter the workforce during such times suffer permanent damage to their career paths, and permanent income loss." Millenniums may suffer financially and will most likely be drinking lower priced wines during this time, the high-end wines are struggling to sell. Again, a wake-up call, that has emotionally prepared us to use our confidence and self-esteem to get gen Y and the world to a better financial time.

Foster's is a large company trying to make it through this time like so many other companies, I think they need to change their marketing strategies and business model to succeed. I do not think depending on the next generation of wine drinkers is going to save the bottom line. This is the biggest hardship a generation has seen since the great depression. I will not be surprised if my children read about this time period in their history books as the Second Great Depression. So, I got enraged when I saw this article because gen Y's self-esteem and confidence is better used at helping the times get better as a whole and not focused on saving one company who sells luxury items. Get real Fosters, if you business model is failing you, YOU need to re-evaluate it not my generation.

As a final note, I recently visited Cellar 360 in San Francisco, a wine tasting and shopping venue owned by Foster's. After my recent tasting experience there, I don't know how Cellar 360 or Foster's as a whole, will survive. The portfolio is far from stunning and their lack luster in presenting information and pure passion are all signs of struggle. If a company is waiting for the next generation to bail them out, well that is a stupid business model. If you can't sell now, you won't sell later.

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