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Magical Mystery Bottle


It’s FREE ! What’s not to like :slight_smile::woman_shrugging:


I cracked open my Kaap Plaas and was surprised, it was very drinkable - quite dry, refreshing, citrus but not acidic. It certainly fulfilled the promise of introducing me to wine I wouldn’t have chosen. I’ve had an aversion to SA wines and never buy them, my prejudice from years ago, I probably had some pretty bad cheap ones. (I know this one is cheap, but it wasn’t bad!)


I had it tonight too - planned on a single glass but it seems the bottle is empty! Very refreshing.


I just can’t get my head around why people think this is a bad promotion or not something they expect the society to do. It’s cheap to run, easy to measure, encourages additional spend, doesn’t apply to orders under a certain margin, can’t really be abused, feels nice for those who get it, helps move some extra inventory sitting in the warehouse going nowhere. It’s basically all upside for everyone. I perhaps can 5% understand that people might think “they’re giving away my money” but that’s really not how this kind of sales promotion works when you look at them in round.


Couldn’t agree more. So many good reasons for trying something a bit different for TWS and very few legitimate arguments against.


I can’t, sorry! I don’t know what they are - I can ask when I’m back in the office next week. :+1:t3:



I don’t know what others’ objections may be but for me it’s about the general tone of the wine society experience.

As a mutual, non-profit organisation my hope is always that the society will be a marketing/advertising/manipulation-free oasis in a world otherwise saturated in attempts to persuade and sell. Sadly this is often not the case, with seemingly near-constant attempts to boost sales and membership.

I would much prefer it were there to be no attempts to get people to order more than they might otherwise do, nor attempts to persuade more people to join the society with crass social media campaigns. A plain offer of honesty and value should be the only necessary inducement to join.

I am also disappointed that the descriptions of wines are so juiced up as to be meaningless as a guide to quality. Price seems to be the only way to get an indication of quality - and that’s very imperfect, especially as the society is supposed to be seeking out little known and unfashionable wines where the quality for price might be better than the usual plonk available elsewhere.

If the marketing department were to disappear overnight I’d be delighted.


I think that once upon a time an organisation like the WS could have survived, thrived even, in the way you describe. In today’s modern media driven world, any organisation operating like that would be lucky to be around in ten to twenty years time (very lucky).


“I would much prefer it were there to be no attempts to get people to order more than they might otherwise do,”

I think that pretty much hits the nail on the head as far as recent promotional campaigns go. There’s a difference between “Why not try this next time instead of ordering that again” and “Order more/sooner and get rewarded”. It’s been bothering me too.


Saying you would be delighted if the Marketing Team disappeared overnight is not a very ‘mutual’ thing to wish for.

In a climate where many wine shops are struggling I’m thrilled to see what the marketing team at the Wine Society do; the brochures sent through the post are of great quality, the twitter account is honest and engaging and they have come up with several initiatives this year which have got members talking (whether you personally like the initiatives or not they have created debate),

I have worked for Mutuals over the last 6 years, they need to make a profit so that they can return benefit/profits/savings to members. I don’t hear members of a Mutual Insurance company complaining when they advertise on TV or offer discounts for car insurance through aggregator websites.

I can’t understand why some are so offended by a harmless offer from the Society, if it attracts more members or encourages some people to spend money then that can only benefit all members as the Society will have more money to do what it does best.


Which raises the question: do they work?

Has this promotion ‘made a profit’ or has it merely moved forward purchases which would always have been made? And has it increased membership over what would be a normal increase for the period? Some feedback, at the appropriate time, would be helpful.


We are all entitled to a voice and my voice says “WOW”! I’m going to assume here you are a very talented and experienced marketeer to throw comments around like this and that you have an amazing marketing plan which dismisses the benefits of social media marketing among other approaches!


The thing is, all of these promotions are completely within each members’ power to ignore. You can unfollow on social media, opt out of mailings and emails, and even save a different page of the website as your route in so you don’t see the homepage splashes if you like. Some of us enjoy and appreciate the efforts, but if it’s not for you just ignore and carry on ordering from the regular list! The great thing about the Society is how it caters for all types of wine drinker, which is certainly not the case for all merchants.


It’s not that black and white. So you’ll never be able to simply say this campaign brought X more members or Y more sales. I would rather leave this in the hands of the experts, I only studied Marketing for one year as part of my degree, the marketing team are more qualified to understand the impact any campaign like this will have than those posting negative comments on this forum.

I still can’t comprehend why so much negativity over something like this. If you don’t like the direction of the society or like the marketing then stop using the society.


Is this really the case? There are lots of boring firms doing well by not fixing what isn’t broken and quietly focusing on their core competencies. Admittedly, the wine society is in what amounts to a retail situation where what you say has more relevance… but the society is supposed to be different in that it has members who are already invested in the ideals of the society and who already believe that it offers better quality and value than its retail rivals.

Unless, perhaps, those members are they who have been persuaded to join by shiny baubles like the golden bottles promotion and henceforward need constant additional inducements to buy their wine from the society?


Something to complain about in a world which we increasingly have no control over whatsoever. A simple catharsis of sorts.


I’d rather just open another bottle of wine and forget about the lack of control.


Unfortunately the society needs to attach a number of younger members as it members are aging. It’s a bit like the Tory party it that respect. I’m holding out for Boris to offer a free case of latour if I join them😁

Cheer up we could be discussing politics.


I find this and a number of other recent threads with similar, well, threads of comments rather worrying. Yes, we’re a mutual/coop, yes we therefore, all of us, ‘own’ TWS. But so do shareholders own a public limited company, but, other than when things have gone wrong to a level requiring an EGM, those shareholders must, and generally do, trust their elected board to actually run the business.

Surely we need to do the same. As others have commented the TWS
management are currently doing a pretty darn good job of running a very successful society in a marketplace where others are going under. The only other roaring success seems to be Naked and look at how they market!

Trying to micro manage the TWS from our back seats, better than the normal shareholders seats, maybe, but back seats nonetheless, will only end in tears. Maketing campaigns are absolutely not always about generating greater sales or membership; they are frequently just about maintaining branding and awareness and the cost of the campaigns can readily be justified purely in those terms. We do not know this level of business detail and expecting TWS to keep us updated on every marketing campaign, detailed statistics on every event, etc. etc. will inevitably cripple the Society’s ability to function as a business. The last thing any business needs is being controlled by a bunch of back seat drivers.

Look at the big picture. Is TWS successful? Is it providing a good service to its member? It’s no use looking at individual campaigns and demanding change based on them. Take the big picture and if you’re still unhappy then I’d suggest the AGM is the place to address such concerns or even campaign to be a member of the committee and influence thangs from there.

The Wine Society is our society but we must trust our elected members to manage its day to day running.


Obviously I don’t wish any of the individuals in marketing any harm and would be delighted if they found good jobs elsewhere. It is not the purpose of the society to provide employment for anyone however. Staff are a necessary part of servicing the members, but we can debate whether all the functions/staff currently provided/employed are necessary or desirable for delivering the society we want. My contention is that much of what the marketing people seem to do is unnecessary for an organisation such as this, and may in fact be dragging the society after it in pursuit of undesirable goals. So it’s not really a non-mutual thing to wish for.

True, those initiatives have got people talking, although so far as I can tell they’re mostly talking about whether they’re a good thing or not. Just creating debate is not an end in itself.

There are different kinds of mutual organisations. Mutual investment funds are designed to make money for their members. That is not the kind of organisation the wine society is. Nobody joins in the hope of a good return of profits on their share. The society only needs to make a profit inasmuch as it needs to cover its operating costs. It can do this by selling wine it acquires to members on a cost basis.

Offended is not the word I would use - I am uneasy - and I am uneasy, ultimately, because I do not see it as “harmless”. It is pressuring people, even if only very slightly at present, to buy more wine than they initially wanted to. It is creating an environment within the society where that is seen as an OK thing to do. It potentially attracts the wrong kind of new members who are here for the special offers and not the underlying values of the society. It all adds up to a cultural shift towards something that is increasingly indistinguishable from a purely commercial operation.