SSU Wine Biz Students Help Terra Fossil & Oliver's Achieve Market Win-Win

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The question was posed to customers: "Would you be more inclined to buy wine with a cause"?

Stomp Out Student Loans!

"Integrating the campaign into the classroom benefited the students by providing them with real-world wine marketing experience,"

Wine business students get a taste of what it's like to develop, pitch and implement marketing strategies as a part of a worthy cause marketing campaign to "Stomp Out Student Loans" and promote the Terra Fossil brand to its target audience.

As a result of the students' work, Terra Fossil gained some 12,000 new Facebook fans in the North Bay Area over the duration of the campaign and has nearly sold out the nearly 700 bottles on the shelves at all three Oliver's Market locations raising close to $1400 dollars. The brand has also managed to gain the attention of one large, national retail chain, who inquired about the project, with a possible interest to carry the wine and cause in the Northern California Region.

Dr. Liz Thach, a wine business faculty member, was approached by Terra Fossil Wines' CEO, Gregory Leib, with the idea of donating a portion of their wine sale proceeds to local University scholarship funds in efforts to help alleviate and stimulate support and conversation around the issue of increasing student loans.

She loved the idea, and had the 41 students in her Introduction to Wine Business (BUS305W) class work in teams to analyze the Terra Fossil brand, and create point of sales material, brand marketing, social media strategies and produce short videos to highlight the cause. "Integrating the campaign into the classroom benefited the students by providing them with real-world wine marketing experience," said Thach. She also introduced Leib to Tom Scott, a Sonoma State alumnus and the General Manager of all three Oliver's locations.

The students presented their marketing strategies to a panel of judges from Terra Fossil and Oliver's. The winning team received a cash prize of $100 per student from the winery.

"People were very responsive and supported the cause, even though many had never even heard of the brand Terra Fossil," says Leib. Being in heart of California wine country was intimidating for the young brand, but the local community showed tremendous support and quickly embraced the brand's mission. The approach to Worthy Cause Marketing played a huge role in differentiating the brand in a sea of many.

Terra Fossil is now in the process of setting up scholarships for both Sonoma State University and Santa Rosa Junior College.

"We couldn't have done it without Liz's blessing and Tom's approval, and the support of the Oliver's seasoned wine staff." states Leib.


For more information on the student loan debt crisis see this video.

For more information on Terra FOSSIL, visit or email:

CONTACT: Annemarie Brown, Admin & Marketing Director, Sonoma State University Wine Business Institute, ; 707-664-2221

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Andy Kumpon
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Annemarie Brown
since: 02/2009
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