What Really Made Coca-Cola Discontinue Honest Tea—And What It Means For Mission-Driven Brands

Honest Tea founder Seth Goldman described it as a “gut punch.” This week, the Coca-Cola Co. announced it is killing the brand he created back in 1998. 

That’s quite a twist in a story that had long seemed like a case study in how a mission-driven brand built around ethical principles—organic ingredients, Fair Trade Certified partners—could capture a changing consumer zeitgeist, connect with an audience, and go big.

Instead, the brand will be “phased out” of the Coca-Cola Co.’s beverage portfolio at the end of 2022. (It’s keeping a spin-off line of organic juice products called Honest Kids.)

Since selling Honest Tea in a multimillion-dollar deal, Goldman has moved on to help found ethical-food startups Eat the Change and PLNT Burger, and serve as the chair of Beyond Meat’s board. He took to LinkedIn to pay tribute to “the sweat, tears, and incredible passion that went into building our beloved brand.”

Perhaps Honest Tea will still live on as a case study: How an apparently successful mission-driven brand can beat the odds, transcend its niche, find a backer who believes in it, make the transition to the mainstream—and still end up dying. 

Coca-Cola assumed full ownership eventually. Goldman stayed involved, and Honest Tea remained in its Bethesda, Maryland, home base. The product itself was never watered down, and as late as 2018 Goldman still saw it as poised for “global growth.” Sales had reportedly risen from $71 million in 2010 to around $600 million. 

But the brand’s momentum had slowed. Sales in the first half of 2019 declined 16%, according to Beverage Digest, in the midst of a wider decline in ready-to-drink tea sales.

The market had gotten far more competitive, and shelves were crowded with functional beverages, cold brew coffees, and antioxidant waters. The consumer zeitgeist that helped propel Honest Tea’s success had shifted. At the end of that year, Goldman left the company to pursue new ventures; Honest Tea’s offices were moved to Atlanta. 

Coke, meanwhile, appeared to lose enthusiasm for niche-ier brands in general, according to a 2021 Business Insider report. And in its announcement this week, the company explained the move as a straightforward consolidation of its tea strategy, sacrificing Honest Tea to focus on two more successful lines.

Those two would be Gold Peak, a virtuous-looking bottled tea brand that Coke has backed with nationwide marketing, and Peace Tea, a growing regional offering that has “a loyal, Gen Z following.” Neither hits the various mission-y notes that defined the Honest brand. 

Honest Tea’s identity, in contrast, seemed less flexible or expansive. And that was fine when the consumer mood was moving in its direction—but feels more limiting now. A sincere mission can help a brand break through to a solid, loyal audience of consumers. But put that mission-centric brand in the middle of a mass-oriented owner’s sprawling portfolio, and that same identity can become a constraint.

Honest Tea really did carve out an authentic, specific space in the consumer landscape: It truly stood for something. And that, in the end, was its downfall.

Source: Fast Company

Man With Over 30 Kids Goes Off On Everyone After Being Called Irresponsible: “I Don’t Pull Out!”

A truck driver named Demond George fired back at his critics after a viral Facebook post posing with over 20 children that he admitted were biologically his. If that wasn’t shocking enough, he added that he had nine more children who were not present in the photo.

In his post, George thanked the mother of his children for arranging the gathering. Viewers pointed out that many of the children looked close in age, leading them to assume various women were pregnant at the same time.

“The LEGEND The Legacy WILL LIVE FOREVER,” George’s post read. “I want [to] thank my kids mothers for helping me make dis day possible…with 9 missing it still turned out good I’m truly blessed.”

The viral photo incited widespread criticism from social media users, with one woman tweeting, “33 children. This is so irresponsible and nasty.”

George posted a fiery response by going live on social media and responding to the widespread criticism. The father of 33 specifically responded to comments about his “weak pull-out game” and emphatically stated that he doesn’t pull out.

“My pull-out game ain’t weak, I just don’t pull out b***h!” George yelled. “It ain’t weak, motherf**** I don’t pull out!”

George proceeded to claim he takes care of all of his children while flashing a stack of cash.

Source: Kollege Kidd Media, VladTV

Donald Trump’s ‘Truth Social’ Platform Finally Works On The Web — Yes, It’s Terrible

The more Forbes journalist John Brandon uses Truth Social, the more he realizes it’s a terrible Twitter clone.

Case in point — just try using the new web version.

Recently, the service finally launched as more than a mere landing page to register for an account. Like you could with Twitter.com more than a decade ago, it is now possible to send your “truths” out to the masses — all 500,000 of them — from a browser tab.

On the web, TruthSocial.com now lets you search for “truths” and participate in the online discourse without a phone, even if it’s all quite basic. Other than calling tweets “truths” instead, there’s nothing particularly novel or interesting about the platform.

You can also configure alerts, view your profile, and adjust a few settings. For example, you can change whether GIFs play automatically in your feed and hide sensitive material. The web interface allows you to mute and block other users, or tag them easily when you post. The web version doesn’t appear to offer a way to see direct messages, though.

Overall, it’s clean enough and simple to use, but also not at all innovative. John mentioned this before, but Truth Social looks exactly like something a developer would make if they were asked to build an app that does only the Twitter basics and nothing more.

Let’s be clear about something when it comes to Truth Social: John Brandon is not analyzing it as a political venture alone. It is definitely part of an elaborate re-election campaign. He has issues with that, not in terms of his own political views but due to the sketchy nature of having a dedicated social media platform meant only for one candidate. If it’s a campaign app, then great. If it isn’t, why does it exist?

Apart from using the word “truths” the real issue is that this is a clone, and that means there’s no real reason to switch from Twitter to this app.

Now that it works on the web, it makes it a bit easier to check your feed, but with 500.000 users, it makes me wonder why anyone would bother. With that smaller group of users, it’s less likely your post will catch on and reach a wider audience, unless you are related by blood to Donald Trump or you’re a celebrity.

Curiously, the only reason John discovered to use Truth Social is because you can see posts from The Babylon Bee, a satire site that was banned from Twitter.

At least Trump himself is posting now, typically with the same outrageous flare he used when he was active on Twitter. Many of his posts are about Hillary Clinton for some reason.

Another surprise is that there isn’t an Android version yet. John knows from personal experience that getting an app launched on Android can be troublesome. One report suggests Truth Social has not even submitted an Android version yet to the Google Play store. Trump claims the reason the app is not approved has something to do with Google being out to get him.

What could really attract attention?

John Brandon would suggest offering some unique features, perhaps a few that are not available on Twitter.

Source: Forbes

New York City Removes Its Last Payphone From Service In Favor Of High-Speed Wi-Fi Kiosks To Meet Daily Communication Needs

It’s the end of an era: New York City removed its last public payphone on Monday.

The boxy enclosures were once an iconic symbol across the city. But the rise of cellphones made the booths obsolete.

The effort to replace public pay telephones across the city kicked off in 2014 when the de Blasio administration solicited proposals to reimagine the offering, the city’s Office of Technology and Innovation said in a news release.

Officials selected CityBridge to develop and operate LinkNYC kiosks, which offer services such as free phone calls, Wi-Fi and device charging. The city began removing street payphones in 2015 to replace them with the LinkNYC kiosks.

There are nearly 2,000 kiosks across the city, according to a map from LinkNYC.

“Just like we transitioned from the horse and buggy to the automobile and from the automobile to the airplane, the digital evolution has progressed from payphones to high-speed Wi-Fi kiosks to meet the demands of our rapidly changing daily communications needs,” Commissioner Matthew Fraser said in the release.

The last public pay telephone will be displayed at the Museum of the City of New York as part of an exhibit looking back at life in the city before computers.

Source: CNBC

Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu Resigns Amid Federal Investigation Related To The Sale Of Angel Stadium

Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu has resigned amid an FBI’s corruption probe related to the sale of Angel Stadium.

His resignation takes effect at midnight Tuesday.

The resignation comes as it was revealed last week that the mayor was the subject of a probe by the FBI, which alleged in a search warrant affidavit that he had fed insider information to Angels executives in the stadium deal and arranged to have a helicopter bought registered in Arizona so he could save money on taxes.

The FBI alleges that Sidhu was hoping to get a $1 million-dollar campaign donation from the team. That never happened and the FBI says the Angels were unaware of the scheme, but this has been building for a while now.

“A fair and thorough investigation will prove that Mayor Harry Sidhu did not leak secret information in the hopes of a later political campaign contribution,” Sidhu’s Attorney Paul S. Meyer said in a statement. “His unwavering goal form the start has been to keep the Angels in Anaheim, so that this vibrant social and economic relationship would continue…

“Mayor Harry Sidhu has has always, as his foremost priority, acted in the best interests of the City of Anaheim, and he does so today. In order to continue to act in the best interests of Anaheim and allow this great City to move forward without distraction, Harry Sidhu has resigned from his post as Mayor effective May 24, 2022.”

This comes as last week, three Anaheim City Council members called on Mayor Sidhu to resign amid the FBI corruption probe into his involvement in the proposed sale of Angel Stadium to team owner Arte Moreno.

Source: ABC7

OnlyFans Creator Kitty Lixo Claims Having Sex With Multiple Meta/FaceBook Employees To Get Her Instagram Account Back

An OnlyFans creator has claimed during a recent podcast appearance that she had sex with Meta employees to have her blocked Instagram account restored.

Kitty Lixo, who has a growing following on Instagram, made the shocking allegation on the “No Jumper” podcast.

Podcast host Adam John Grandmaison uploaded the segment to Twitter with the caption “How to get your Instagram back if it gets deleted.”

According to Lixo, her Instagram account got “shut down like three or four times,” so she slept with “multiple” employees from the company that owns Instagram, Facebook and other social media products.

“All you have to do is have someone really, really like you,” the influencer can be heard saying in the clip, which has been viewed over 1.4 million times.

On Instagram, Lixo frequently linked her OnlyFans account, which has adult content. While it was not made clear what got her account blocked, Meta updated its community guidelines in Dec. 2020 to prohibit advertising adult content.

A Facebook spokesperson was quoted by Refinery29 last year as saying that “while OnlyFans isn’t a porn website, we know it can be used in that way, so we take action on accounts that share OnlyFans links when paired with other sexually suggestive content.”

“The first time I got my Instagram shut down, one of my friends, he works at Instagram, he’s a guy friend,” Lixo shared. “So I started sleeping with him to have him get my Instagram account back. And he did, which was really nice of him.”

Lixo shared that her friend from Instagram had earlier revealed to her “what the review process is like when you get your Instagram account shut down.”

“So, basically, he told me that the integrity department is up for reviews,” said the social media personality.

Lixo explained that Instagram’s review system implements a tedious process that involves multiple persons handling an account review.

“Every time they put in another review, it gets sent to a different person,” she explained. “In order to get it [the account] back if they deny you the first time, basically what a person has to do is keep trying, keep putting in reviews.”

She stated that the goal is to get someone to like you and perhaps they’ll “rally for you and you’ll get your account back.”

Lixo then purportedly went digging on LinkedIn to find any connections in the integrity department.

“I contacted them on Instagram through my backup and still slutty account,” said Lixo, who claimed she was able to reach some who knew her by her “Girls Gone Wireless” podcast.

“We met up and like I f*cked a couple of them, and I was able to get my account back like two or three times,” claimed Lixo.

Source: Yahoo News

Milestone U.S. Soccer Deal Equalizes Pay For Women, Men — World Cup Prize Money And Sponsorship Revenue To Be Split 50/50

The US men’s and women’s soccer teams will share prize money from their respective World Cups equally in a historic agreement announced on Wednesday.

US Soccer and the unions for the two teams reached the deal during negotiations for their new collective bargaining agreements, which have now been ratified.

“The accomplishments in this CBA are a testament to the incredible efforts of WNT players on and off the field,” said USWNT player and USWNT players’ association president Becky Sauerbrunn. “The gains we have been able to achieve are both because of the strong foundation laid by the generations of WNT players that came before the current team and through our union’s recent collaboration with our counterparts at the [men’s players union] and leadership at US Soccer.

“We hope that this agreement and its historic achievements in not only providing for equal pay but also in improving the training and playing environment for national team players will similarly serve as the foundation for continued growth of women’s soccer both in the United States and abroad.”

USMNT defender Walker Zimmerman, who is a member of the men’s union leadership group, also welcomed the deal. “There are tough conversations, but at the end of the day, it is the right thing to do,” Zimmerman said. “It’s something that [the US women’s team players] deserve. It’s something that they have fought for so hard, and, to be honest, sometimes it does feel like we had just kind of come alongside of them and had been a little late.”

Fifa’s prize money for the men’s and women’s World Cups is unequal. The bonus pool for this year’s men’s World Cup in Qatar is $440m, while the prize money for the women’s tournament in Australia in 2023 is $60m. Under the new agreement, the unions for the US men’s and women’s teams will share the prize money from the 2022 and 2023 World Cups. The US men have already qualified for Qatar 2022, while the women’s team are the reigning women’s champions and are heavy favourites to book their place for Australia 2023 later this summer.

World Cup prize money was not the only area where equal deals were reached. Shares of ticket sales will now be equal, as will win bonuses. Some aspects of income and benefits will differ between the teams. The men will not share their $2.5m bonus for qualifying for this year’s World Cup as it was part of the their previous CBA.

“This is a truly historic moment. These agreements have changed the game forever here in the United States and have the potential to change the game around the world,” said US Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone, who is also a former USWNT player. “US Soccer and the USWNT and USMNT players have reset their relationship with these new agreements and are leading us forward to an incredibly exciting new phase of mutual growth and collaboration as we continue our mission to become the preeminent sport in the United States.”

The US women’s team has long fought for equal treatment with the men’s team. In December 2020 they reached an agreement with US Soccer over equal work conditions with their male counterparts. The players were granted the same conditions as the US men’s team in areas such as travel, hotel accommodation, the right to play on grass rather than artificial turf, and staffing. Then, in February, the team agreed a $24m settlement that ended a six-year legal battle over equal pay.

Source: The Guardian