‘Yass queen’: Honest Tea uses influencers and BuzzFeed to reach young moms

When Dan went on his first date with Krystal, he was on crutches. And she was dressed like a clown. While that may not sound like an auspicious start to a relationship, the two lovebirds ended up staying up all night. They, along with two other couples, share their first-date experiences in a BuzzFeed ad for Honest Tea called “Couples Get Refreshingly Honest About How They Met.” The video, posted yesterday, has already been viewed 1.5 million times and shared 2,500 times, with more than 700 comments.

The video, which shows fleeting shots of the Honest product on a side table, is part of an integrated marketing campaign this summer, which includes paid-media deals with BuzzFeed, HGTV and seven social influencers.

The brand is collaborating with agency Creaxion on corporate communications and JUDD Production on TV commercials, though the majority of the content is produced by an in-house team of 15 that consists of designers, PR, brand management and social strategists. The team gives influencers specific instructions, writes press releases and social media content, and works with BuzzFeed on the production of sponsor content. There’s also a GIF-heavy advertorial titled “14 Things We Learned About People From The 2016 National Honesty Index.” 

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 3.58.37 PM
This loosely translates to “that’s right.”

“We’ve been wanting to do this more for a while,” said Ami Mathur, gm of brand marketing for Honest Tea. “We’ve had the tagline ‘Refreshingly Honest’ for a few years. Previously, we were focused on product benefits and what was in the product. As the brand grows and becomes more relevant, we are now able to touch people on an emotional level.”

Honest Tea is also working with seven influencers across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, with the hashtag #RefreshinglyHonest. For example, Jessica Shyba — who has more than 534,000 followers on Instagram — addressed in her post the importance of being more authentic in the daily lives. “Share some of your #RefreshinglyHonest moments so we can all feel better about our less than perfect parenting moments,” she wrote. 

“I personally want to work with people who naturally like our brand — I don’t want to pay for forced relationships,” said Mathur. 

Being selective seems effective. Since May, the hashtag #RefreshinglyHonest has been used nearly 6,800 times with one massive peak on Aug. 12 with 245 mentions in one day, and its social sentiment is vastly positive at 95 percent, according to Brandwatch.

Honest Tea’s sales increased by around 20 percent last year, up from $134 million in 2014, according to CNBC. In comparison, its parent company Coca-Cola is struggling with declining soda consumption.


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