Honest (Tea) critique

Posted by Rob Walker on February 6, 2008
Posted Under: Ethics,Sustenance

Samuel Fromartz of Organic Inc./Chews Wise offers a fairly skeptical take on Honest Tea (7/3/05 Consumed subject) selling a big ownership chunk to Coke. One excerpt, addressed to co-founder Seth Goldman:

Remember your name, Honest Tea? The name implies that there is something less honest or dishonest out there that is being sold, and you are the alternative. Being the alternative – it’s part of your DNA.

So you have to make the case that Coke will not compromise all that your brand stands for, and has stood for, over the years. Heck, all that YOU stand for.

Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

Reader Comments

Busted … I think the line about less honest or dishonest was pinging around my brain for a couple of years after I read your column and it came in handy. I’m skeptical but this deal may work out for Honest Tea. The tea leaves remain murky on a firm prediction.

Written By Sam Fromartz on February 6th, 2008 @ 12:16 pm

No busting intended! I thought you made a lot of really good points, and I only linked to the old column because it happens to be a brand that’s interested me for a while. I sure didn’t mean to suggest anything other than that I think some people might be interested in what you had to say. It’s always interesting when a sort of halo-ish brand goes this route, and I guess it’s fair to say the results tend to be mixed at best.

Anyway, it was a good post, and I’m curious if it will get a response from the founder — it should!

Written By murketing on February 6th, 2008 @ 12:23 pm

I emailed with Seth and he said he’d do a Q&A with me, explaining the deal. If so, I’ll ping you when it’s up on the blog. Clif Bar almost went this route too, but they pulled back at the last minute, if I remember correctly. Patagonia has been resolutely independent but then Yvon Chouinard described himself as a “reluctant businessman.”

Written By Sam Fromartz on February 6th, 2008 @ 12:42 pm

Didn’t know that about Clif. And while I keep an eye on Chews Wise, do feel free to let me know when that Q&A goes up. Thanks again!

Written By murketing on February 7th, 2008 @ 7:36 am
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