Honest Tea’s practice of including thought-provoking quotes and sayings at the bottom of the company’s bottle caps started in 1999. And it has, since then, received overwhelming positive response from customers.
However, one particular quote from billionaire and current Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has gathered substantial controversy on social media.
The quote reads, “If you’re going to think anyway, you might as well think big.”
The statement drew a tweet from Paul Shapiro, a customer from Washington D.C., and a rapid response from the Honest Tea Twitter account:
@pshapiro We’re in the process of having his quotes removed from our caps. ?
— Honest Tea (@HonestTea) December 28, 2015
Shapiro, who’s account identifies him as a vice president of farm animal protection at the Humane Society of the U.S. and an “animal advocate,” isn’t specific about why he objects to the quote.
However, he later told the Associated Press: “I usually don’t think of organic green tea consumers as target demographic for Donald Trump.”
While some Honest Tea followers on Twitter seemed to agree with the sentiment, others clearly did not:
@SwampBabe813 Sorry to hear that. We started refreshing all of our cap quotes several months ago. Here’s the story: https://t.co/M8W4YDt8Gx.
— Honest Tea (@HonestTea) December 29, 2015
In a post on the official Honest Tea blog, company co-founder Seth Goldman tried to downplay the impact of a single tweet on the company’s decision to have the Trump quote removed, explaining:
“We generally refresh these quotes every 12-18 months to share fresh ideas. We have already sent the newest wave of 100+ quotes off to the printers – my two favorites of the next printing run are ‘No one has ever become poor by giving.’ – Anne Frank and ‘A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.’ – Nelson Mandela. Mr. Trump’s quote, which was not political in nature, was removed because it had run its course, along with other great quotes like ‘Nature provides a free lunch, but only if we control our appetites’ – William Ruckelshaus.”
The only discrepancy here is that, as Grub Street recently reported, the Trump quote has been in circulation since July 2013. That’s well over the 12-18 months Goldman claims the company usually uses a quote.
The company paradoxically seemed to give weight to the argument that it had been swayed by a single customer comment. The official Honest Tea Twitter account remarked to Shapiro:
@pshapiro Since your tweet started all of this (?), we thought you’d enjoy this blog by our TeaEO Emeritus: https://t.co/M8W4YDt8Gx.
— Honest Tea (@HonestTea) December 28, 2015
However, in his post, Goldman also insisted:
“There is nothing objectionable to the thinking in Mr. Trump’s quote ‘If you’re going to think anyway, you might as well think big.’ Indeed, it’s certainly the mindset that we’ve brought to our business and our impact.
Honest Tea is a tea for all parties — we welcome anyone who wants to drink our organic iced teas because we know that when people choose organic and Fair Trade tea they are making an impact, regardless of their party affiliation.”
Businesses must always be careful when straying into politics or other controversial issues unless their brand is based on a certain political or ethical stance.
It could be argued that drinkers of Honest Tea’s organic Fair Trade beverages might not tend to be Trump supporters. But angry tweets about the company’s decision suggest otherwise.
It remains to be seen whether the company’s decision to remove the quote will hurt its brand, enhance it or have no impact at all.
Image: Honest Tea/Twitter
Not a fan of trump… but I am a fan of spines. To remove this quote now, after one tweet brings attention to it and not have a company just say.. its a good quote..?? Removing Honest Tea off of my shopping list…. What is Honest Tea without Integri tea?
Nothing political here…..
I think the quote is good. The problem is probably a mismatch between the customer base and Trump. Purely a business decisions. Don’t try to politicize it too much.
Lisa: You have given me an idea for my future tea products! 😉 Was it Snapples that started with quotes on bottle caps?
Hey Martin – haha, yes!
It’s nice to know that they are listening to their market. I guess that is one way to retain customers – to make them feel heard.