»The silted bottles are a piece of German history.«

Daniel Koller, Director Strategy, Content & Creation Seven.One AdFactory

March 2022. The images of the devastating floods in the Ahr valley get under your skin – huge expanses of water flow through the picturesque wine region and destroy everything in their path. The family of Daniel Koller, Director Strategy, Content & Creation of Seven.One AdFactory, which owns a guesthouse in the region, is also facing the ruins of their existence. A few days after the flood, Koller and the Seven.One AdFactory team initiate the Flutwein fundraising campaign together with local victims and other partners. In this interview, he explains how the idea for the campaign arose, how it was realized at AdFactory’s Creative House and why Flutwein has become a piece of German history.
A well-known German proverb says that one should make a virtue out of necessity. How did you come up with the idea for the Flutwein campaign?

The idea was simple. A few days after the flood, when the water receded, people in the region ventured back into their homes for the first time to take stock of the damage. My aunt sent me a photo of 300 mud-streaked wine bottles, all neatly lined up. That was all they could save. Immediately it was clear that this can be seen through the entire Ahr valley. The idea was to unite the independent businesses of the wine industry and to make the wine that was no longer saleable the core of a fundraising campaign as a symbolic thank you. In this way, we combined the two things people now associated with the Ahr valley – the floods and wine. Only hours later, I spoke with my colleagues at AdFactory, who were instantly on board. The very next day, the idea and thus the basic framework of the Flutwein campaign was in place.

In just one week, we produced the entire campaign. The quick realization was only possible because we have direct lines of communication in Creative House and a strong network within the Group.

Daniel Koller, Director Strategy, Content & Creation Seven.One AdFactory
How did you realize the campaign?

That was all done at our Creative House, which is a kind of full-service creative agency under the umbrella of Seven.One AdFactory, where we work across platforms and formats. We are strategy, creation, digital and production experts and want to tell stories with our campaigns. At Flutwein, it’s the bottle itself that does just that – because it is not only the protagonist, but also a witness to this devastating night of flooding. These silted bottles are a piece of German history. They are unique and have a certain contrast. Thus, on the one hand, we present the “original silted” wine in the advertising materials as a desirable, artistic object. On the other hand, we show the unbelievable destruction of the night of the flood and, for example, use the original audio in the commercial, featuring sirens, rushing water and the victims’ screams. In this way, Flutwein appeals to people on a creative level and also touches their hearts. At the same time, we drew on typical wine jargon with expressions such as “leaves a bitter aftertaste in the mouth.” In just one week, we produced the entire campaign with spots, posters and social media assets. Normally, something like this takes weeks or even months. The quick realization was only possible because we have direct lines of communication in Creative House, a strong network within the Group, and we were joined by other external partners such as startnext and WallDecaux.

What have you achieved with Flutwein?

Tourism and the wine industry are the Ahr valley’s economic lifeblood, but the flood destroyed hundreds of small family businesses. The strategy behind the Flutwein fundraising initiative was to draw the attention of the media to those businesses’ rebuilding activities and to position the region as a tourist wine destination in the long-term. And I think we succeeded because the campaign went around the world for months. The remarkable donation amount of EUR 4.5 million, which went directly to the donation account of a non-profit organization, founded by the local vintners and associations, makes Flutwein to the biggest crowdfunding campaign ever carried out in Germany. We are especially proud of the almost 50,000 supporters whose contributions are showing solidarity with those affected by the floods. What’s most rewarding for me personally: the realization that something like this is possible in our society is actually the greatest thing!

EUR 4.5 m
in donations currently make Flutwein the largest crowdfunding campaign ever carried out in Germany
How does this campaign exemplify the work of Creative House?

Flutwein was one of the first campaigns of the new Creative House and shows very well what this units stand for: effective strategies, creative excellence, great flexibility and high speed – and that regardless of the size of the project, its genre and the client. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the idea of creating a kind of full-service agency, because the market increasingly demands fast and creative solutions. What’s more, Creative House addresses highly relevant social topics. In addition to Flutwein, this is also evident in many other projects, such as the #machdichlaut (speakup) campaign created for Weisser Ring, an association which helps people that are affected by crimes. The efficiency behind of these campaigns combined with our proximity to the Entertainment sector are optimal prerequisites here.