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Best Kept Secret v Loud and Proud


This… As they say on twitter.

Anyone who thinks they can sit out social media is fooling themselves. I often think TWS has been rather slow and a bit clumsy with it (sorry people).

And why anyone is getting hoity-toity with sending influencers samples when the amount of freebies given to wine writers of old was monumental and scandalous I cannot imagine.


Yes exactly. From what I can see they are placing a few samples of new lines with established wine writers who have themselves adopted insta etc alongside traditional media to reach a wider base. This is an absolutely vanilla use of social media, really the bare minimum you would expect of any organisation that expects to be remotely relevant beyond the next few years. I work in a very large public sector organisation that now, in some places and at some tines, uses geolocation, demographic targeted advertising based on keyword searches and predictive risk stratification as part of engaging the same demographic. There is stuff routinely happening in most fields of public and commercial life that would clearly both amaze and horrify many fellow members of the community!


Based on the above I’d say the teaser post by @laura has been successful. I mean I can’t say for certain because it’s not my strategy to execute, but social media is generally used to promote awareness and engagement, and the sleuths talked about the wine early and there’s but much debate in the above thread. :heavy_check_mark::heavy_check_mark::clap:


You and me, both! :roll_eyes:


I find this offensive to be quite honest… unless of course you can be quite specific in your example??
Personally I would never use the term “Many of the older are like sheep” for fear of upsetting and alienating the older members of this community, but then that’s just me.


As far as I recall, the emperor was an “older” gentleman. This is ageist, just because modern marketing and advertising are using different channels of engagement does NOT make the “young” gullible. In fact, the younger generation are far less likely to be scammed or have the wool pulled over their eyes by politicians, unscrupulous banks and traditional advertising than the older population.
We can all appreciate you don’t like the digital age which is bringing faster and more targeted advertising but please, generalising a whole sector of the population because of how they engage with social media is just plain pedantic.


Take Effi Tsourvana, who is one of the “influencers” used by TWS team. Lovely photos, and I am sure she is a wonderful person, but inconsistent disclosure of where the wines came from (or who was paying for it) throughout her posts. In fact, many of the photos on her Instragram account could have been product placements (regardless if it was paid in kind or cash) and you wouldn’t know.

Moral higher ground aside, the main objective of this kind of placement is to achieve what is known as “social proof”. So, I leave you with a question. Is that in line with TWS objectives?


This is totally incorrect and unfair to Effi. She publicly thanks TWS for the “Sample” see her post here:


Hi Leah. Yes. She did thank TWS and Pierre Mansour at the very end.

Her previous post, at one of Boutaris’ properties, doesn’t follow the same practice, nor does the one on the Roeder champagne.

The main thing is less about Effi, who I am sure is a trove of knowledge and enthusiasm that is infecting and will positively influence people to take up some good wines, and more about bringing any potential sources of conflicts of interest upfront for the sake of transparency, so readers take that factor into account.

There is nothing wrong about sending samples of wine or creating events for the press, and some people are perfectly happy with postings bordering on “informercials” but a mutual ownership company like TWS should rate transparency high above all things.


I was about to comment exactly the same thing regarding Effi! I really cannot see the issue here with using instagram as an advertising route, especially when compared to past practices of sending samples to reviewers for Decanter, Sunday Times, Wine Advocate etc etc. Effi, and may of the other wine lovers I follow, are normally very clear about the source of the wine and instagram have very clear policies about this.

Some of the posts above are sad, but not entirely surprising. Change is always happening, and is always challenged across any number of areas of society. Things we don’t understand will appear scary and the easy approach is thus to dismiss it as silliness, rather than take a more educated, and open, approach to something novel.


But how do you know these weren’t purchased herself ? As @AndyMac78 has said, there are clear guidelines within insta for advertising.
Tbf, if you look at my insta it’s full of wine I’ve drunk. No one has given me free stuff apart from left overs I’ve taken home from a tasting, none of the wines on my insta have been paid for by anyone else and if they had I would credit it . Let’s not always Make assumptions until we know better . If we really want to know, then we could just ask her ??


As I’ve been censored by the mentors I will proceed with caution. The title of this thread began as a result of reading the somewhat dumbed down version of the Annual Report. Indeed the title is a quote from it.
Judging by how this thread has progressed and has been policed, I guess negative feedback is not welcomed.
An old mentor of mine once said ‘never ask your customers for feedback unless you are prepared to take action on it’ . I’ll get my coat!


I don’t know, and that’s the point. I follow Effi too, btw. To be clear, this is not a personal criticism of her or anyone for the sake of this argument. Let’s leave this aside and return to the topic of transparency:

Page 6 of the Influencer’s Guide (https://www.asa.org.uk/uploads/assets/uploaded/3af39c72-76e1-4a59-b2b47e81a034cd1d.pdf) states the following:

If you’ve been ‘paid’ (either in money or in gifts/freebies), but it isn’t as part of an affiliate arrangement and the brand doesn’t have any ‘control’ of what (or even if) you post, it’s unlikely that the content will count as advertising under the CAP Code. In that case it’s a little like sponsorship, in the way that events and TV programmes can be sponsored – the sponsor has no ‘control’ over the actual content of what they’re sponsoring, they’re just helping to fund its creation (and paying for an association with that content). Sponsorship isn’t covered by the CAP Code, and the ASA won’t pursue complaints about it.

That said, arrangements like this are still subject to regulation under consumer protection
legislation enforced by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA expects influencers to disclose when they’ve received any form of monetary payment, a loan of a
product or service, any incentive and/or commission or have been given the product they’re posting about for free. The CMA has published some more information on this here and here.



This is good point, your original post was prompting a discussion around the effects of TWS growth. I hope this will be a hot topic at the AMA and AGM as I’m still quite interested in what the plans are and what the intended effects will be.

In the meantime there’s been several exchanges around the use of Social Media – itself a method of both engagement and growth – and at some point people started taking things personally. It was at this point the Moderators (who don’t work for the Society) stepped in. Before anyone gets their coats, there was plenty of criticism and discussion before the Moderators stepped in, and there is probably still plenty left. It’s a good topic, just got a little heated that’s all.


Ok? So basically we, and TWS can assume that the times she doesn’t credit is when she didn’t get things for free. Otherwise you’re making an accusation. And all the posts I’ve seen about the new wine have mentioned TWS quite clearly, with much the same wording (almost like they got… a press release).


Do the new social media influencers ever pronounce on a stinker? Do they ever post that a particular wine was too green, over-extracted, acidic, etc? I haven’t noticed many. They need to keep the source flowing surely.


I don’t think I’ve ever had to step in like this, but this is completely false so I feel obliged to clarify: you had one post removed, but it was nothing to do with negative feedback of The Society (there was no negative feedback in the removed post anyway!) and we have never removed negative feedback on this Community. It was removed because several users flagged it as offensive for completely separate reasons.


No idea, maybe. But to be honest, I don’t see that much in ‘traditional’ channels either. Every time I read Jane Maquitty’s column, for example, all I see are recommendations for great wines. Most of which she received from wine or PR companies. so I really can’t see the difference, it’s just a different medium.


Again, this is absolutely false.
As well as stating " Thank you @thewinesociety1874 for the sample" in her Insagram post, she used the hashtag #sample both on her post and on her Instagram Story.

That’s completely in line with the guidelines you’ve posted above.


Yet another assumption from you, Graham!

None of the mentors flagged your post. Proceed with caution, by all means - but only when it comes to your broad generalisations and assumptions.