Honest Tea sets up shop to drive brand message with consumers

Honest Tea and AOR Formula PR set up unmanned pop-up stores asking passers-by to take a bottle of Honest Tea and leave a dollar while employees watched discreetly.

Client: Honest Tea (Bethesda, MD)
PR agency: Formula PR (Los Angeles)
Campaign: Honest Cities
Duration: July 19
Budget: About $60,000

Honest Tea and AOR Formula PR set up unmanned pop-up stores asking passers-by to take a bottle of Honest Tea and leave a dollar while employees watched discreetly.

Strategy
"We take pride in being honest with our consumers," says Peter Kaye, Honest Tea VP of marketing. "This is a way to connect with them on a deeper level."

Tactics
Prior to this event, minimal advertising was done to ensure candid responses. The media was alerted, but it was not given any details until launch day. Meanwhile, iStrategyLabs built honestcities.com and assisted with media strategy.

On July 19, pop-up stores stocked with products appeared in 12 cities. Next to a cash box was a sign asking participants to drop in a dollar for each bottle taken. A QR code on the box took passers-by to honestcities.com, where they could watch live footage, which was captured by hidden cameras at each location, streamed via Ustream. Visitors could participate by answering whether or not they would leave a dollar to receive a $1 coupon.

Results
By day's end, $5,000 had been left for products taken. Honest Tea matched that amount and donated the money to charity.

Chicago was the most honest city with 99% of consumers paying for bottles; New York was the least with 86%.

Facebook fans doubled in one day to more than 60,000. Media buzz included Today, the Huffington Post, and the Yahoo Advertising blog. Honest Tea was mentioned almost 5 million times July 19-20, compared to 15,000 times on an average day.

Future
"We will definitely expand what we do with Honest Cities next year," says Kaye. "We want to keep it fresh. We are confident we have a platform that reflects our brand."

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