Monday, 22 August 2016 15:54

Champagne and caviar for everyone!

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Shaun Anderson Shaun Anderson Picture provided by Javelin

Shaun Anderson's name has become synonymous with some of the finest food and wine festivals in South Africa. Wine has always been his passion and finding sponsorships for wine and champagne festivals has been a natural evolution, as his company Javelin has been in the sponsorship/marketing business for 20 years.

Originally sales and marketing director at the SABC, Shaun raised money for sports events such as the 1995 World Cup in South Africa but, as the large cellphone companies edged out the middle man, he approached the banks and credit card companies for sponsorship.

In 2000 Shaun was the first to take a wine region/route and get it sponsored, resulting in the Stellenbosch American Express Wine Route. The festival received R1-million in sponsorship to fund their office and annual event and in return all the wine route members had to have an Amex card. 

The idea was brilliant and Shaun turned over R60-million of new business from using the cards. "It worked out stunningly," he says.

He is now the official representative of champagne in South Africa having been inducted into the Ordre Des Coteaux De Champagne, in a ceremony traditionally held in the cathedral at Rheims (although in 2013 Woolworths Wine Master Allan Mullins  was honoured in the first Ordre Des Coteaux De Champagne induction ceremony to be held in Africa at the Turbine Hall in Johannesburg).

Shaun's most successful festival to date has been the Absa Champagne Festival, which attracts top names in the wine world as well as many top international and smaller boutique houses. 

"After I started the Absa Champagne Festival I needed the French to understand what I was doing," Shaun says. He went to France five years in a row and met up with Daniel Lorson, a top name in the champagne world who is a spokesman for the Champagne Making Association, and has subsequently visited South Africa and the festival.

"The French have turned champagne into such an amazing brand," says Shaun. "Any champagne house of any stature will treat you like gold. They carry their brands with such panache. The champagne makers are quite serious in their work, but they can also be party animals.

"Some of them are from great old families which have been around for ever and they do what they do with extraordinary passion."

Getting into the inner circle was not easy. Shaun built up his contacts in the wine world and established relationships over time. The idea of a sponsored champagne festival was a novel one at the time to the Champagnois but a big bank like Absa was very excited about the marketing value to their brand.

After rubberstamping the event and turning it into one of the most prestigious events on the champagne calendar Shaun turned his attention to fine foods. 

Three years ago Thierry van den Bosch from Corne Delicatessen floated his business  and formed specialised fine foods importer, Europfoods, together with Shaun. The wholesale business provides wonderful smoked salmon, foie gras and cheeses, with a focus on French and Spanish goodies, and has expanded massively, going into big delis and supermarkets in South Africa. 

The team consists of Shaun (The Big Cheese and Chief Pot Stirrer), Thierry van den Bosch (Chief Gastronomer and authentic Frenchman) and Sarah Murray (Marketing and Product Development Director and self proclaimed food crit), plus a whole team of dynamic and happening people.

The business is also getting ramped up with a private client club, says Shaun.

"It's the best of the best and we have taken on an artisinal South African version, from ham and local trout to cheeses," says Shaun, who speaks to the marketers like Robyn Higgins from Blubird and organises kitchen demo sessions with Miele, taking Europfoods into people's homes.

Which is where the second arm of his business comes in ... Javelin TV which handles infomercials, advertising funded programmes, Tv series "Fix My Biz", advertising and production, and media and sponsorships from companies like Air France/KLM.

Usually considered annoying infomercials are one of the most effective forms of advertising. "Around 15 years ago infomercials were considered foreign in South Africa but we made advertiser-funded programmes; for example we went to FNB Home Loans and made a show about home makeovers using the five biggest estate agents in the country," states Shaun.

With all this under his belt, it is no wonder that Shaun is one of the most successful, effective and best connected names in the corporate world and this year he introduced the Melville Arch French Festival to the eventscape, which was two days of absolute fun and wonderful food.

 

 

 

 

 

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