You have to use some common sense when doing a sampling program for a cold beverage. Namely, cold beverages are nice on a warm summer day. They're less nice in 20-degree weather.
Thus, it was surprising to see a street team handing out Honest Tea organic peach-flavored white tea in New York last night. Most of the commuters getting off the train were more interested in thrusting their hands in their pockets rather than grabbing an ice-cold drink. Coke isn't the first company to break the cardinal rule of beverage sampling. In 2003, PepsiCo gave away 5 million free samples of Sierra Mist in January. The difference there: It was the brand's nationwide debut. Plus, it went with the "Shockingly refreshing" tagline.
Honest Tea, which has been around for a decade, bears the tagline "Be real. Get Honest." OK, here's my honest assessment: Given Coke's history of mishandling smaller brands its gotten involved with, like Mad River and Planet Java, this effort seems like a rather ominous sign.
—Posted by Kenneth Hein