We all have heard that the picture of an animal on a wine label usually increases sales. There is some adequate evidence that that this has some validity. But why is that the case? Why would an animal, that usually have nothing to do with wine, help sell wine?
In WineS Magazine (June/July 2008), there was a brief news article, "Wine Labels With Animals: Why they Work." It discussed a recent study in the Journal of Consumer Research (April 2008) that dealt with why adding animals to wine labels is an effective marketing technique.
Commonly, a logo should be relevant to the product it is intended to represent. So, adding animals to wine labels seems to run counter to this common methodology. But, research has show that consumers have an easier time with an image if they are already primed about that image. This means that the consumer already has some preconceptions about the image from prior familiarity with that image. For example, if a person already likes dogs, then a picture of a dog on a wine label may appeal to that consumer, even if the dog has nothing to do with wine.
The results of this study could probably apply to more than just animals on wine labels. It might explain about the popularity of some celebrity wines. It might also show why certain other wine labels are more popular than others, as some present a preimage to consumers that appeals to them. Just think how pink flowers on a wine label might turn off male consumers toward that wine.
The article also mentions another advantage of animals, and other items, on wine labels as opposed to more traditional wine imagery such as grapes and vineyards. Animals and such are usually more unique labels, less forgettable than all those labels that have pictures of grapes. There may only be one winery using goats on their labels, but hundreds using grapes.