Australian ‘Influencer’ Slammed For Shameless Request Of Winery

"I am lost for words"

Thanks to the rise of social media, more and more people are striving to become ‘influencers’. If that’s a goal that you’re working towards, then be warned – do not beg companies or businesses for free products through a poorly written email.

Case in point: food writer and critic, John Lethlean has shared to his Instagram screenshots of an email that was sent to the Australian winery, Eldridge Estate (via the winery’s website contact page). The email was sent ​​by an influencer who did a mighty poor job writing it.

Firstly, the influencer addressed it to “David and Wendy”, despite Eldridge’s website clearly explaining that the owner/winemaker, David, sadly lost his wife, Wendy when she passed away eight years ago. Then, admittedly, the first paragraph is not that bad – aside from the horrifying spelling and grammar mistakes – as the influencer just praises Elderidge’s wine, especially the Pinot Noir. But then, buckle up, because it gets interesting.

She claims to have a TikTok account with 10,000 followers (or maybe 12,000; at first mention she’s written 10,000 but then later in the email, she’s written 12,000) and that she’s uploaded a video to the platform where she highly recommends Elderidge Estate’s wines and gives the winery “a really good plug.”

Then she’s written, “I’m not wanting anything in return” which is good because she never links to or gives her TikTok account name, so there’s no way for the winery to verify whether she’s a) got more than 10,000 followers and b) has actually posted a video of herself recommending their wines.

The influencer goes on to contradict herself and starts hinting that she would like “a couple of bottles of wine” for free as thanks for giving an “endorsement to over 10,000 people.” Then, she just flat out begs: “you can thank me by giving me a dozen bottles, I’m your advocate… Free endorsement and advertising is what any business would love, feel free to thank me with some wine.”

Instagrammers had a field day commenting on Lethlean’s post of this screenshotted email, which the food writer, himself, called “disturbing”. Some comments flat out slammed the request while others humorously shaded it.

One Instagram user commented, “I am lost for words. This one really does make me feel sick, having known both David and Wendy for many years,” while another user wrote, “Oh… it would appear you need to get back on track. Here’s some directions. Turn right on Pay Your Own Way Road, turn right again onto World Owes Me A Living Highway, take the exit onto What An Embarrassment Parade…”

We’ve added some of the other best responses to the shameless email below:

This is just the latest example of the exploitive ‘couscous for comment’ culture – a term coined in 2016 by Tim Philips-Johansson, co-owner of Sydney bar & restaurant, Bulletin Place – that the hospitality industry has had to endure since more and more people started blogging and ‘influencing’.

Hopefully, people will see Lethean’s post (as well as the responses!) and will think twice before requesting free stuff in the future.

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