All posts by cerendanis


“Life is too short to drink bad wine.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

You enjoy an occasional glass of red wine, or you just want to pair the day’s love infused dinner with an exquisite bottle of white. You go to the nearest wine shop, liquor store or supermarket only to be left alone staring at the abundance of options. Of course, you can ask the salesperson at the shop, but can he or she incorporate the knowledge of millions of wines into his recommendation? No, I didn’t think so either. It is your lucky day though, Vivino is here to help.

Finding the perfect bottle

Vivino boasts over 9 million different wines in its database covering over 3000 different wine regions for its community of 29 million wine lovers. Founded in the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen, by Heini Zachariassen and Theis Søndergaard in 2010, it is world’s largest online wine marketplace. The company is spread over three continents with their offices in Copenhagen, San Fransico, Ukraine and India, and so far has secured $56.3 million in funding including a staggering $25 million from SCP Neptune, the family office investment vehicle of the Moët Hennesy CEO, Christophe Navarre. A “community-powered e-commerce platform for personalized recommendations” as Zachariassen puts it, allows users to scan the labels of the whichever bottle they are about to buy and the app recognizes the key pieces of information such as the price, producer, year and the region of production. The app also gives tasting notes and recommends food pairings to go with your precious bottle.

Here’s a 60-second video explaining how:

Wine lovers unite!

The community dimension of Vivino is what makes it a truly customer-centric platform. It allows users to rate the wines, read the comments of other users and even follow their fellow oenophiles, possibly consisting of family and friends whose reviews will be highlighted in their feeds. Since the launch of the app some seven years ago, half a billion labels have been scanned and 88 million ratings have been submitted. With such a wealth of data, the company launched Vivino Market in 2017 offering wine lovers customized recommendations depending on their past behavior on the platform. The more labels they scan and more ratings and reviews they leave on the platform, the better recommendations the users get. Vivino seems to be the perfect conjunction of social media, big data, and machine learning assisting wine lovers to never be disappointed ever again with their choice of wine.

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Vivino by the numbers

A new era for selling wines

Vivino’s value proposition does not only concern wine lovers in the pursuit of a good wine. It also benefits retail partners and sommeliers alike. Guest-to-sommelier interaction is usually an awkward one: guest trying to explain what kind of wine he or she likes and sommelier trying to pinpoint “the one” with not much to go on other than “dry”. Vivino successfully steps in at this point. The users of the platform can simply show the sommeliers wines that they previously enjoyed, making everyone’s lives a little easier. And Scott Zocolillo, Managing Partner, and Sommelier at Nectar in suburban Philadelphia’s Berwyn agrees: “Vivino, to me, shows trends and preferences. I love when a guest has their app out, [as] it helps move the conversation along and helps me do my job and get them the best wine for their experience.” It doesn’t end there, though. Through its marketplace, Vivino charges a flat commission for retailers on the orders that are bought on its website and app. With over $40 million worth of wine sold through Vivino, it provides a disruptive opportunity for wine producers to reach a vast community of users who are appreciative of wine. A win-win situation for all parties involved!

Powered by a solid community of users with its current data capabilities, the company plans to expand to emerging markets such as Hong Kong, Brazil, and Mexico through its increased partnerships. The goal is to sell $1 billion in wine by 2020 and with 2 years to go, that doesn’t seem to be an easy target. However, Zachariassen seems to believe in the potential of the online market for wines. “Wine is a $300 billion industry and if you look at the online part of wine, e-commerce, it’s still very, very small,” says Zachariassen, pointing towards a plethora of opportunities in the online wine retail business in the years to come. For now, what we can do as wine lovers is to sit back, relax and crack open that bottle of red which is guaranteed to be a pleasure.

Here is another article written about Vivino from 2014:


Crunchbase. (2018). Vivino | Crunchbase. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 Mar. 2018].

Freedman, B. (2017). The Launch Of Vivino Market Could Herald A New Era In Wine Buying. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 Mar. 2018].

Page, H. (2018). Investors Pour $20M More Into Wine Curation And Delivery App Vivino – Crunchbase News. [online] Crunchbase News. Available at: [Accessed 5 Mar. 2018].

Scott, K. (2017). Vivino: This app is designed to turn anyone into a wine expert. [online] CNNMoney. Available at: [Accessed 5 Mar. 2018]. (2018). About Vivino. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 Mar. 2018].

Yeung, K. (2016). Vivino raises $25M round, led by Moet Hennessey’s CEO, for its wine discovery app. [online] VentureBeat. Available at: [Accessed 5 Mar. 2018].


Effects of Sponsorship Disclosure on Persuasion Knowledge and Electronic Word of Mouth in the Context of Facebook

facebook-logo-100035675-mediumThey are everywhere. We all have seen one: a post on Facebook, Instagram or any other social media platform with a little sign saying that the post is sponsored. We see a celebrity enjoying a certain product and recommending it to the audience. We think to ourselves if the person in question is genuine in his or her motives of sharing it, whether they are actually using the product or whether we should follow their recommendation to purchase it ourselves and possibly share our newly found trophy with our family and friends. This simple everyday ritual we have with ourselves, sometimes multiple times a day, has prominent psychological mechanisms coming into play, guiding us through the journey starting from the recognition of the post as sponsored to eventually activating us to share it with our loved ones.

These psychological mechanisms lay the foundation of the research conducted by Boerman, Willemsen and Van der Aa (2017). The researchers identify the source of the sponsored post(brand or celebrity) as the initial step to recognizing it as carrying persuasive, or in other words, advertising value by consumers. This is defined as the activation of the conceptual persuasion knowledge, which in turn, activates the attitudinal persuasion knowledge. Attitudinal PK gets activated when consumers start developing critical and distrusting feelings towards the advertisement (Boerman, Van Reijmersdal and Neijens 2012).  All these are used as determinants to find out whether the consumers eventually engage in electronic word of mouth (eWOM; cf., Berger 2014).

Designing the experiment

Building on the theoretical foundations mentioned above, researchers conduct an online experiment with 409 participants. A post with David Beckham drinking an Illy branded cup of coffee with the text ‘Starting the day with a nice cup of coffee!’ (posted by David Beckham) and ‘David Beckham starts his day with a nice cup of coffee!’ (posted by the brand) is shown to participants to test the following hypotheses by having participants answer a series of questions:

H1. A Facebook ad that is accompanied by a sponsorship disclosure (‘Sponsored’) will be more likely to activate consumers’ conceptual persuasion knowledge, than a Facebook ad without a sponsorship disclosure.

H2. A Facebook ad that is posted by a celebrity will be less likely to activate conceptual persuasion knowledge, than a Facebook ad that is posted by a brand.

H3. The effects of a sponsorship disclosure on the use of conceptual persuasion knowledge are stronger when a Facebook ad is posted by a celebrity compared to when a Facebook ad is posted by a brand.

H4. Source moderates the effect of the sponsorship disclosure on attitudinal persuasion knowledge through the activation of conceptual persuasion knowledge: The mediated relationship of the disclosure on attitudinal persuasion knowledge will be stronger when the Facebook ad is posted by a celebrity (vs. a brand).

H5. When a Facebook ad is posted by a celebrity, a sponsorship disclosure activates conceptual persuasion knowledge, which results in the use of attitudinal persuasion knowledge and ultimately lowers eWOM. When a Facebook ad is posted by a brand, such serial mediation is less likely to occur.

The figure below clearly outlines the experiment design and the source of the Facebook post as the initial stimulus.

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Anticipated results

In line with the expectations, researchers found evidence to support all five hypotheses. They found that the conceptual and attitudinal PK activation was significantly different when the source of the post was a celebrity in the presence of a sponsorship disclosure. This was not the case when the ad was posted on Facebook by the brand. Activation of the attitudinal PK after recognizing the post as an ad resulted in consumers engaging less in eWOM as a result of the distrusting feelings they developed by recognizing the post as advertising. An interesting finding of the study, however, indicates that little attention is paid to the sponsorship disclosures. The study shows that 59% of the participants did not recognize the sponsorship disclosure which is also in line with previous studies conducted (e.g., Boerman, Van Reijmersdal, and Neijens 2012; Campbell, Mohr, and Verlegh 2013; Wojdynski and Evans 2016). Intuitively, this has an impact on the interpretation of the results. Even though the activation of the conceptual and attitudinal persuasion knowledge of the consumers will result in less engagement, lowering the perceived success of the ad, this does not directly condemn sponsored celebrity Facebook posts to failure since the majority of the people won’t recognize the post as an ad.


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 Leveling the playing field

Although the study comes with its limitations due to its single product, brand (Illy coffee), celebrity (David Beckham) and geographical (conducted in the Netherlands) focus, it provides invaluable insights into the effect of sponsorship disclosures on Facebook posts. It seems the regulators’, such as FTC’s, disclosure requirements are not sufficient enough to level the playing field for consumers when it comes to social media advertising. Further research might reveal, however, how this could be overcome as well as consumers moving along the learning curve might become more aware themselves. Until then, better to think twice before you share that post by your favorite celebrity you saw on your newsfeed.


Berger, Jonah (2014), “Word of Mouth and Interpersonal Communication: A Review and Directions for Future Research,” Journal of Consumer Psychology, 24, 4, 586–607.

Boerman, Sophie C., Eva A. Van Reijmersdal, and Peter C. Neijens (2012),“Sponsorship Disclosure: Effects of Duration on Persuasion Knowledge and Brand Responses,” Journal of Communication, 62, 6, 1047–64.

Boerman, S., Willemsen, L. and Van Der Aa, E. (2017). “This Post Is Sponsored” Effects of Sponsorship Disclosure on Persuasion Knowledge and Electronic Word of Mouth in the Context of Facebook. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 38, 82-92.

Campbell, M., Mohr, G. and Verlegh, P. (2013). Can disclosures lead consumers to resist covert persuasion? The important roles of disclosure timing and type of response. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 23(4), pp.483-495.

Wojdynski, Bartosz W. and Nathaniel J. Evans (2016), “Going Native: Effects of Disclosure Position and Language on the Recognition and Evaluation of Online Native Advertising,” Journal of Advertising, 45, 2, 157–68.