Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How Honest Was Cincinnati?

Results are in and the city known as the most windy city is also the most HONEST city in America! The home of deep-dish pizza now has something refreshing to wash it down with… Honesty, or Honest Tea!

On July 19, Honest Tea, the nation’s top-selling organic bottled tea company conducted a social experiment by setting up unmanned pop-up stores stocked with ice-cold Honest Tea and Honest Ade in 12 cities across the United States. Signage asking visitors to leave $1 per bottle on the honor system was posted next to a transparent (but securely mounted) cash box. In partnership with Ustream, hidden cameras were arranged to provide live video feeds of each pop-up store on the interactive website that documented how honest people actually were and tracked the real-time honesty results of each city.

This year represented a full scale national expansion of an idea that originated a few years ago by two creative Honest Tea employees in San Francisco. This year’s experiment involved 12 cities all tested on the same day, enabling people from anywhere to watch the events unfold in each city.

“We wanted to challenge people to think about how honest Americans are as a whole, particularly when no one is watching,” said Seth Goldman, president and TeaEO of Honest Tea. “It was refreshing to see that most cities were in the 90 percent range,” Goldman added.

People who didn’t have a chance to visit one of the Honest Stores can go to to participate online. A highlight reel displaying the honest, the dishonest and the honestly funny can be viewed on YouTube. As part of the promotion, online participants have the ability to recreate the experience at the Honest Store, but instead of getting a bottle for a dollar, they get a $1.00 savings coupon while supplies last or by 12 p.m. on Friday, July 22, 2011.

“Honest Cities is part of a much larger integrated brand strategy focused on complementing our successful grassroots marketing with big events that fundamentally include digital outreach to drive awareness and trial of Honest Tea on a national scale,” said Peter Kaye, vice president of marketing at Honest Tea. “But at the same time, it’s not just about selling tea, but connecting our mission with our consumers,” added Kaye.

In keeping with its mission-driven approach, Honest Tea is donating all of the money collected –nearly $5,000 to three non-profit organizations. Honest Tea will also match the funds collected, bringing the total donated to $10,000. Consumers will be able to weigh in on which nonprofit partner they think should receive the dollars collected during the experiment. The three nonprofit organizations are: Share Our Strength®, a national nonprofit ending childhood hunger in America by connecting children with the nutritious food they need to lead healthy, active lives; City Year, which unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service, to help turn around high-need schools and get at-risk students back on track; and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., whose mission is to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people.

“Since one purpose of our experiment is to help people appreciate the strength of our communities, we’re glad to be able to donate the money from the tests to three non-profit partners who help make our communities stronger,” said Goldman. “We hope our donations and the poll on the Honest City website will help raise awareness for their important work.”

Final Honesty Percentages:

San Francisco
Washington, D.C.
Los Angeles
New York

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