Every so often a marketing idea stops you in your tracks and makes you equal parts impressed, entertained and envious. The organic tea company Honest Tea produced that idea this week.
The company’s recently-announced National Honesty Index is a robust and well-executed campaign, one with a variety of angles. Setting up unmanned pop-up stores in 30 cities around the country, Honest Tea asked everyday pedestrians to pay a buck per bottle of their product entirely on the honor system.
The campaign’s core idea isn’t revolutionary. Gas stations have conducted this social experiment over the years with ‘take a penny, leave a penny’ trays. What Honest Tea did was approach it with media relations savvy, big data and interactive perspectives to create something equally as magnetic to consumers as it is to media.
In a little less than five days the National Honesty Index has earned a mass of placements in both local and national media to go with a tremendous amount of social chatter. Aside from a few grumpy observers, the campaign has been well-received as a lighthearted, quasi-scientific study, one obviously not meant for peer review in a scientific journal.
While I’m most impressed with its ability to attract media coverage in the 30 test cities and beyond, the campaign was no doubt an integrated effort with a host of marketing and technical disciplines contributing to its success.
Ultimately, a brand’s purpose and ideals will direct its creative process. When a brand stakes its reputation (and name) on a virtue as widely-esteemed as honesty, you have a unique ability to create something fun that resonates with folks.