Entries tagged with “bloggers”.
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Tuesday 21st January 2014 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
When I see any writing by Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, CEO of tourism consultancy Destinate and former ineffective Mommy-Tweeting CEO of Cape Town Tourism, I have to hold back the urge to laugh, not only because of her poor writing skills (despite English being one of her BA majors!) but also because of her lack of marketing skills. Helmbold has just launched the ‘Stellenbosch Wine Experience’ for the Stellenbosch Wine Routes and Stellenbosch 360, as a joint venture between the wine and tourism elements of the second oldest town in South Africa, with the goal of becoming ‘the leading wine tourism destination in Africa‘. Helmbold adds in her document that Stellenbosch should be positioned as ‘amongst top in the world‘ too, and become ‘Africa’s wine tourism capital’!
The Stellenbosch Wine Routes is the first wine route in our country, having been established in 1971 by Spatz Sperling of Delheim, the late Frans Malan of Simonsog, and the late Neil Joubert of Spier. Its mandate is to market the wine estates and wines of the 150 or so wineries in Stellenbosch, with its CEO Annareth Bolton having mainly run a PR campaign to date. Previously sponsored by American Express, it no longer appears to have the backing of the credit card company. Credit card companies appear to be all over the seemingly lucrative wine industry, Diners Club appearing to have a head start. Stellenbosch 360 is the new name for the Stellenbosch Tourism Bureau, and is run by a very competent Annemarie Ferns, long the SA Tourism Country Manager for Germany.
Helmbold spent nine years at the helm of Cape Town Tourism, never being able to rise to the level of the marketing done with close to zero budget by her predecessor, the vivacious Sheryl Ozinsky. Helmbold did formula marketing, if one can call it that (more…)
Tuesday 19th November 2013 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
The brief to address trendtalk #7 at the Plascon Auditorium last week led to three speakers in the Cape Town design industry approach design trendspotting from three very different perspectives, addressing the theme of ’Reflections on the Future’. Attending the Bloggers’ evening at the new I ♥ my Laundry branch on Bree Street last night, I saw how their bold use of orange is spot on trend, a colour they already chose when they opened on Buitengracht Street 19 months ago. Orange was described as a bright and cheerful colour which does not overwhelm and which works well in ‘dark moody spaces’.
#trendtalk was conceptualised by Lauren Shantall of Inhouse Brand Architects, and four design and decor trend talks are held in the Cape Town city centre per year.
1. Laurence Brick, co-founder of Loads of Living, spoke mainly about trends in interior home design, reflecting that consumers evolve, and feed each other with creative ideas, mainly seen on Social Media:
* The kitchen is the new lounge, where one entertains friends and gathers as a family. The design of the kitchen matches the artisanal fresh food which is on trend.
* Textiles chosen for interiors have texture, and reflect honesty and integrity in how they are made.
* Lighting has become very industrial and sculptural, ‘as good as art‘, with bare (more…)
Tuesday 1st October 2013 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
One of the changes New Media Publishing has introduced for Eat Out‘s 2014 edition is that its printed Restaurant Guide will only list 500 restaurants, as opposed to 1100 last year. The method of selecting the included restaurants has changed too.
The process commenced with Eat Out announcing that it was looking for applications from restaurants to be included in the 2014 Eat Out Guide, such applications closing on 30 June. It described the application process as follows: ‘This call to action turns up the heat and shifts the onus onto the restaurant to put themselves forward in a simple process‘. The restaurants that wanted to be considered for inclusion had to complete a (more…)
Monday 23rd September 2013 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
Cape Town Tourism is hosting three bloggers over a three week period, as a repeat of the 2012 Travel Blogger visit, attempting to reach international and domestic travelers and to encourage them to visit Cape Town. This campaign failed to achieve its goal in 2012, and the new campaign could follow the same route!
We were very critical of the visit by the four bloggers last year, after the New York Times questioned the ethics of travel blogging, and focused its article on Keith Jenkins, the Velvet Escape blogger who led the Blogger team coming to Cape Town last year. The Bloggers were seen to have blogged little before, during, and after their visit to Cape Town, and to have little credibility in not declaring that their visits were sponsored by Cape Town Tourism and its members, and that there was little that they paid for themselves. This led to ‘advertorials’ written, mainly about their accommodation in Camps Bay. Most of what was posted by the bloggers was ‘photoblogs’, a blogpost consisting of a photograph only!
Cape Town Tourism issued a very brief media release about the pending blogger visits, and claimed incorrectly that the ‘inaugural #lovecapetown blogger hosting programme contributed to Cape Town Tourism winning a Travel + Leisure SMITTY Awards (Social Media in Travel + Tourism Awards) in the category Best Overall Use of Social Media, CVB, Global‘. The awards which were won by Cape Town Tourism (a Gold Loerie added on (more…)
Saturday 10th August 2013 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
When Michael Olivier first launched Crush! food and wine digital magazine three years ago, it was evident that he and his team had no experience in the design and publishing of a magazine generally, and a digital magazine specifically. We wrote critically about the first few issues, but no feedback was accepted nor reacted to, and Olivier appeared to have lost advertising revenue as a result, thus leaving the magazine about a year ago. His departure appears to have rejuvenated the magazine, and it has improved vastly!
The response by Olivier and his Crush! writers David Cope (@Foodie_za) and Andy Fenner (@JamieWhoSA in those days) to our feedback about the magazine at that time was to create the Whalespotter Twitter defamation account led by Cope, and condoned by (more…)
Thursday 11th July 2013 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
What a diverse and controversial episode 10 was last night, generating many emotions at different levels, as well as criticism of M-Net and MasterChef SA on Twitter for the first time since the commencement of Season 2. There was little that was judged to be favourable in the episode:
The losing Red Team (Joani Mitchell, Karen Els, Khumo Twala, Jason Steel, Leandri van der Wat, and Neil Lowe) from Tuesday evening had to go into the ‘Spice’ Test when they lost the Pizza Challenge by two points. Robertsons ‘Spices’ were the focus point of the Test, annoying viewers for such strong blatant branding of the sponsors’ products, in addition to being subjected to so many TV commercials, especially relative to Season 1. The criticism was two-fold:
* Herbs and spices are two different things, yet the contestants had to guess which combination of Robertsons ‘spices’ had been used in a number of dishes they could smell and taste (the company advertises spice and herb combinations), according to the judges’ brief, yet they had both herbs and spices to evaluate, including in a tomato dish, and in caramelised butternut. Chef Andrew Atkinson said that one’s tastebuds must be attuned to seasoning, so that one can change or enhance a dish’s flavour profile.
* No serious chefs would use Robertsons spices in their kitchens (except Chef Reuben Riffel of course, who endorses the brand and appears in its advertisements!), as ‘fresh is best’, the trend in restaurant and home cooking! (more…)
Saturday 15th June 2013 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
Taking our intern Lorraine Bourgogne from Reunion on a recent sightseeing tour of Cape Point and Boulder’s Beach, we stopped at Groot Constantia, to ask for a map of the Constantia Wine Route. To our surprise, the best we were given was a hand-drawn map, an experience that was replicated at two other wine estates in the valley. A week later we returned to Constantia, and stopped at the wine estates we did not manage to get to last Thursday. It appears that little or no marketing, other than a few events, has been undertaken for the Constantia Wine Route, that there is confusion as to who is handling the marketing for the Route, and that there is huge disparity in the wine tasting experience across the ten wine estates on the Constantia Wine Route. Confusion exists amongst the wine estate staff between the Constantia Wine Route and the Constantia Valley Association, and between the roles of Karen Michalowsky of the Constantia Valley Association (a not-very-nice person on Twitter), and Carryn Wiltscher of the Constantia Wine Route, both first names sounding similar! (more…)
Sunday 17th March 2013 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
Yesterday I met up with a fellow writer at the Franschhoek Summer Wine festival, and we had an interesting discussion about PR companies, and how professional or mediocre they can be. Unfortunately there are many mediocre PR companies, and few truly professional ones. Smart Communications & Events, the PR agency of the festival, was a prime example of mediocrity, with no presence at the event nor providing a media pack.
The discussion arose when the writer shared his pet peeves about PR companies, being particularly sensitive about not having been invited to a wine-related function earlier this week, yet he was sent a media release after the dinner, which highlighted that top Tweeters and Bloggers had attended the prestigious dinner at The Greenhouse, he obviously not being one, in the opinion of the PR company, he felt! I shared a similar incident when I was not invited to the launch of a winter menu of Reuben’s in Cape Town, obviously seeing all the Tweets about it, and then received the media release whilst the lunch was on the go! Media invitation lists are a sensitive issue, and an invitation exclusion can be held against a PR company and/or its client’s brand, especially as we were reminded by one PR company recently that it is not the communications representative but often the client that decides on the final attendance list. This can make things awkward for the PR agency, especially when they represent a number of clients in the food and wine industry.
While we were on a roll, we shared the following peeves about PR agencies:
* not saying thank you for coverage received – a ‘thank you’ is a rare treat and much appreciated
* being chased for coverage – attending a function is no guarantee that any writer will write about it, although one does feel obliged to write. Most events attended are covered on Facebook and Twitter by the writers. Many PR agencies charge their clients for the number of Tweets achieved for an event, and hence the use of the hash tag to track this easily, it was explained to me.
* being asked to list an event on one’s ‘Events page of the blog’, even though our blog does not have such a page!
* being asked to send a link to the PR agency when the blogpost has been written and posted, an absolute no-no! Not all PR agencies follow one on Twitter, and are rarely ‘Likers’ on Facebook, so they don’t pick up the coverage their clients’ brands achieve on these Social Media forums.
* being sent media releases with large format photographs in the body of the media release, and on a colour background, make it impossible to print. The information is what counts, even though the ‘packaging’ of it does look impressive.
* being sent media releases regularly about clients’ wine and restaurant brands, yet never having been invited to the restaurants or sent a bottle of wine to try before using the media release! Such media releases have a very low chance of receiving coverage on a blog, and even on Facebook and Twitter.
* functions that are too long and start too early in the day, especially day-time ones, given that most writers have paying job commitments which must take first priority, especially in summer.
* not being introduced to fellow attendees, as not all writers know each other, the media mix changing for every function. Name tags are rarely seen.
* functions being held far out of Cape Town, where most writers live and work. Many wine writers will insist on accommodation for evening functions, or a transport service, which covers the issues of drinking/driving and the cost of petrol, and usually leads to great camaraderie on board.
* functions/launches being too similar – one takes one’s hat off to PR agencies that can find a new angle for their clients’ brands, and always search for new venues to host their clients’ functions.
When a media release was requested of the Franschhoek Summer Wines event yesterday afternoon, Franschhoek Wine Valley CEO Jenny Prinsloo contacted her PR company, and they promised to send a release. It was the same two paragraph e-mail we had been sent to attend the function. The PR company head said she wanted to wait for the attendance figures before she issued a media release, a total waste of effort, as most writers would write almost immediately or not at all. The ‘release’ only contained the names of 12 of the 28 wineries participating in the festival. Each winery only offered one white wine, Rosé, or MCC for tasting, yet there was no information provided about each of the 28 wines, and what makes them unique. With a few exceptions, it seemed as if the B Team had been sent to man the ‘stands’, which was just a wine barrel per winery. Very few of the winery representatives offered information proactively, being pourers of wine rather than sharers of information. Only Morena had a booklet of information one could take from its stand, always stylish with its owner Nick Davies hands-on and in attendance. There was no information provided about the specialist tastings that formed part of the festival.
Leopard’s Leap was an ideal venue and the perfect weather helped the event greatly. Additional parking was opened up, and golf carts drove one to the entrance. It’s a pity that a (outsourced security company) boom operator is persistently rude when one arrives at Leopard’s Leap. The invited media guests had to buy their own food (the wine tasting was on the house), something one would rarely experience if one is the guest of an event – the petrol alone for the journey from Cape Town and back would have cost around R375. The invitation’s description of the ‘mouth-watering deli-style food from the Harvest Table‘ was completely misleading, as they had changed their menu for the event, being chicken and a few leaves (R60), salmon quiche with a good helping of salad at R45, and a vegetarian wrap (R30), not representative of the fantastic food that The Rotisserie at Leopard’s Leap usually serves. Even though we wanted to pay for an ice cream when ordering our food, payment was not taken, and consequently the ice cream had run out at 16h00, an hour before the close of the event!
The Franschhoek Summer Wine Festival was organised for the second time, by professional event organiser Darielle Robertson of DnA Events. Franschhoek can do much better than it did yesterday to attract attendance, given its excellent track record in hosting the Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival, Bastille Day festival, and Franschhoek Uncorked. It is unfortunate that the festival clashed with the Cape Town Carnival yesterday, the Spar Ladies Race this morning, and the start of the ABSA Cape Epic today, which would have kept many wine tasters from Franschhoek. From Twitter and spending time at the festival it appeared that the media attendance was extremely low (only three we picked up), which means that it will take longer to establish the event in years to come. We Tweeted twice only from the festival, the food and most of the stands not being attractive enough to photograph and Tweet. As a brand Franschhoek and its excellent wine estates and good restaurants are far too special and unique to be represented by a mediocre PR company!
POSTSCRIPT 8/4: Epic Communications, organisers of the publicity for the RE•CM Top Ten Year Old Wines dinner at the Greenhouse last month, sent this e-mail today: ‘The RE:CM 10 Year Old Wine Awards 2013 winners were announced at a gala dinner held in Cape Town on 14 March 2013 where valued clients and judges were treated to a three-course dinner at the award winning Greenhouse Restaurant by acclaimed chef, Peter Tempelhoff, who specially designed courses to pair with each 2013 RE:CM 10 Year Old Wine Award winner. Please see attached social images, as well as images of the dishes served on the evening and the handover of the awards. I have also pasted below captions for the images and a press release with further information. Would this be of interest for your blog?’ Our bogpost about the event was posted on 18 March!
POSTSCRIPT 7/5: It appears that we were removed from Smart Communications & Events media list after posting this blogpost. We have just been added back to the list again, after sending a request to the Franschhoek Wine Valley CEO!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Saturday 16th March 2013 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
Cape Town and the Western Cape once again showed their strength in dominating the Eat Out DStv Food Network Produce Awards 2013, at a function held at the Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill last night, winning seven of the sixteen awards. KwaZulu-Natal came a close second, with four awards.
The judges of the Eat Out Produce Awards were 2012 Eat Out Top Chef Margot Janse of The Tasting Room, Chef Jackie Cameron of Hartford House, Anna Trapido, MasterChef SA judge and Chef Pete Goffe-Wood, and Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly, evaluating products which were nominated by the public. ‘These small poducers are all doing their bit by bringing the very best quality produce to our shopping baskets and tables’, the Awards booklet shared. The Awards celebrate outstanding food producers, and great home-grown tastes and flavours, Eat Out’s Content Director Anelde Greeff said, and reflects producers, chefs, home cooks, bloggers and food lovers sharing and eating together
The 2013 award winning Eat Out DStv Food Network producers are the following (more…)
Thursday 14th March 2013 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
Yesterday afternoon Anton Groenewald, Executive Director of the City of Cape Town’s new TEAM (Tourism, Events, Arts, Marketing) Directorate, addressed the French networking group CAP40 at the Alliance Française on the topic ‘Perspective on strategic and policy intiatives to grow the Tourism business in Cape Town‘. He was described as the ‘keyholder that can unlock tourism to the Cape’. Groenewald has become the most powerful person in Tourism in Cape Town, and has a considerable budget.
Groenewald is an interesting man, very honest (often at his own expense) and direct, very goal-orientated, non-political in his actions, and charming even though he may be ruthlessly honest. He is not always ‘media-correct’ in his honesty, yet he does not seem to mind being quoted, no matter how sensitive his response may be to the parties he may be commenting about, as we discovered last year when Cape Town Tourism was blowing its own horn about the number of Twitter impressions it had created by inviting four international bloggers to the city. For Groenewald it is all about the bottom line, his mantra being ‘commercialisation’ to achieve revenue targets. His department has promised Cape Town Tourism R117 million for the three year period from 1 July 2013 onwards, but with demanding revenue and commercialisation targets to be achieved. He certainly means business, and was honest in admitting that a head of Cape Town Tourism who has been in the position for nine years no longer is fresh enough to be on top of her game. He confirmed that its outgoing-CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold did not need any encouragement to not renew her contract. They will shortly start recruiting a replacement CEO nationally as well as internationally. His no-nonsense attitude shows when he stopped Cape Town Tourism PR (more…)