Jane Henderson
Jane Henderson is the Global President of Mintel’s Beauty & Personal Care Division. Jane helps the biggest global beauty brands grow their business by collaborating on product development, go-to-market strategy, and brand innovation.

Honest Tea - Secret Message

I’m a big iced tea drinker, but I don’t normally drink bottled iced tea. That’s because I can never find what I want–plain, unsweetened, unflavored black tea. But today, coming back from an errand to the office, needing something cold to drink to go with my bag lunch, I stopped in the CVS next door to our office. No plain black tea, but I did pick up a tea/lemonade blend. It was from Honest Tea, so it was not called an Arnold Palmer, as many are, but the taste was the same.

RTD teas in the US continue to be hot, with impressive sales growth that is predicted to continue in the next few years.

Honest Tea, like so many brands, uses its label real estate to tell cute stories about the company or about the product. This one tells a fictional story about lemonade and iced tea taken straight from the old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup TV ads from the 1980s or so (“you got peanut butter in my chocolate!”). Reading those stories gets old pretty quickly, and to me, can trivialize a brand faster than it should.

So while I was not impressed with that story about Seth and Barry, I was impressed with something I almost completely missed. As I was taking a big swig, I discovered something really quite clever that the brand has done–put a message on the back side of the label, so that you can only see it if you have drunk a good portion of the contents. But this isn’t a sales message. It’s a quote from a famous person that seems to tie in with the brand.

In this case, here’s the quote: “It is our responsibilities, not ourselves, that we should take seriously”–Peter Ustinov.

Now there’s a stronger statement that tells a good story about the company than the travails of Seth and Barry and their accidental iced tea/lemonade combo.