Why Brands Need to Get Real

By Amanda Thomson

New brands have never had so many marketing options...

New brands, and six years into its existence I count Thomson & Scott firmly in this category, have never had as many marketing options. There has always been good old word of mouth, but in the old days you could advertise using print, TV or radio on channels and that was it.

A new chocolate bar or washing powder would be all over ITV in soap opera breaks. The opening of a market town restaurant could try and attract the local mayor to the opening in the hope (s)he would then smile in a regional newspaper.

Now? Old-skool media is having a tough time in favour of social media and the rise of the influencer. The invention of blogs and Facebook were followed by Twitter, SnapChat, WhatsApp, Instagram and… (I’m aged well over 30.

Something will have launched today, so peer over the shoulder of a late teen or twenty-something the next time you’re on the London Underground). The point is, there is a lot of choice out there and all of it can be used to shout about your products. We’re avid users of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (come and say hi @thomsonandscott), and like the way we can get information about our products straight to consumers in ways that are completely controlled by us. Our brand = our images and words. We hold this equation dear.

Should you board the influencer money train?

So we’ve been watching the influencer gold rush and wondering if we should be tempted to load up the wagon and find a celebrity. As everyone knows, the deal is a simple one: find a brand partner to work with and get them to photograph your products.

What you pay, and how many images and words you get, depends on how far up the celebrity food chain your chosen influencer sits. For someone like any Kardashian or Rosie Huntington-Whiteley with has millions of Instagram followers the sky is the limit. They could feature shoes or a face cream with a few hashtags saying how much they loves the #glow, and job done.

It’s such a simple and effective way to reach potential customers keen to bask in their favourite celebrity’s glow that influencer marketing is now estimated to be worth over US$1billion globally. That’s a lot of face cream.

Thomson & Scott is approached on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis about influencers. We’re offered various celebrities with the right ‘brand synergy’, and given prices on a sliding scale depending on how often our products would be mentioned and on which channels.

So far we haven’t signed up. It’s absolutely not because we don’t like celebrities. We regularly get a little giddy about royal weddings, or about catching sight of anyone famous (we’ll tell you our Pret a Manger and boy band buying crisps story one day). Ellie Goulding, Mollie King, Pixie Lott have all publically enjoyed Thomson & Scott Prosecco, and we are as excited as kittens when we see images of them sipping our sparkling wines.

Celebrities will now have to get real about when they get paid...

It’s just a little thing about transparency. Advertising Standards are cracking down on the influencer honeypot and demanding that celebrities get real when paid to advertise by making it crystal clear that their endorsement is a financial one. Thomson & Scott has built its reputation on promoting ethical drinking: campaigning to make it a legal requirement to list the ingredients on wine bottles, and and creating Thomson & Scott Prosecco to organic, vegan methods.

Admittedly we’ve been lucky. We’ve received crazy press coverage in everything from the Boston Globe to the Sunday Times and GQ, and celebrities aren’t shy about being photographed drinking our sparkling wines. However, the bottom line is that we make our bottles in the best way we can using amazing ingredients and talented producers. If you like us, we’ll be incredibly excited. Just don’t invoice us because best friends can’t be bought.

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