The South African wine industry could be in for a marketing and communication crisis due to a large number of influencers, wine marketers and other high-profile individuals failing to post selfie photographs of themselves being vaccinated against Covid-19. Tech companies, including social media giants Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have expressed concern at the slow uptake of South African wine representatives in posting pictures of themselves succumbing to the Pfizer or J&J jab, and thereby missing an opportunity to elevate the self-awareness and vanity profile of the country’s wine community.
According to Mitch Smegman, Instagram’s marketing head for Africa, the South Sea Islands and Greenland, there was an initial flurry in Instagram posts of bare-armed men and women being vaccinated by a masked health representative. “What was surprising was that this initial show of modesty and humbleness was found among the group of people aged between 50 and 59, a relatively senior group yet showing trendy adeptness at posting photos of themselves being jabbed, preferably with a raised thumb: Look folks, I did it!” says Volkgraaf.
However, now that vaccinations are open to the 40 to 49 year-olds, Instagram and Facebook – which owns Instagram, are worried that the groundwork laid by the senior vaxers was not being followed-up with enough self-conscious exhibitionism by the younger influencers and marketers of South African wine.
“We are only seeing one-in-four of these younger vaxers plugging a post of themselves getting the shot,” says Volkgraaff. “With social media awareness being more prevalent among the younger crowd there was an expectation that the world would be seeing a heated flurry of selfies showing needle in arm. But this ain’t happening – if you guys want to raise the profile of your wines, you’d better show more skill in self-promotion and visual opining than is currently the case.”
According to Tilda Kameltow, adviser to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and an avid wine-lover, South Africans must break their shackles of timid Calvinism and post more vax-photos than ever before. “It is your social responsibility to show the world that you are a proud engager with Twitter and share our goals of making the world a more humble, informed and reconciliatory place,” she says.
As a woman, Kameltow says she can understand why some people are reserved in selfie-ing themselves. “The fact that one has to don a mask during the jab is definitely a hindrance for great selfies,” she says. “I mean, how are we going to show our lips, aquiline nose and flushed cheeks when it is all hidden behind a face-cloth?”
She calls on influencers and marketers to for once set their vanity aside and get posting those pictures of the jab-in-process. “Think of other people, namely the hundreds and thousands of Twitter-followers you will deny the witnessing of you getting that Covid-shot,” she says. “The world will be all that much the poorer, and as Jack always says: Vanity is a small price to pay for becoming part of our social media family, where you are loved.”
- The Reporter
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