Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Marketing 101, with Prof. Earl Grey

You can create all the funky new flavors you want, but don't mess with the original.

Twinings found that out recently when the venerated British tea company decided to "refresh" its Earl Grey recipe, adding "a dash of lemon and a touch more bergamot," and relaunching it under the company's Aromatics line of flavored teas. "The Earl himself couldn’t have imagined how wonderful his favourite tea could taste," Twinings claimed.

The reviews (many via a Facebook protest page) came in quickly, and they were not "wonderful":
  • "I took a big gulp expecting it to taste lovely and bergamotty but to my utter dismay (and horror as I nearly spat it out) it tasted like lemon cleaning product - vile."
  • "I have to say it is utterly gross. We wont be buying it in the office again."
  • "It stinks, rather like lemon Fairy Up Liquid and is unpleasant to taste. I threw the contents of my box out into the compost."
  • "I can't drink the new blend. The false lemon flavour is just horrid.
  • "I cannot describe how awful this new tea tastes. The old award-winning tea was in a completely different league to this foul-tasting dish water."

A Twinings spokesman reported that, of course, the company had conducted "rigorous consumer tasting" before unleashing the new product and received a "strong preference feedback over the previous blend."

In a move that brings back memories of the New Coke scheme, Twinings announced last week on its website that they were giving in to popular demand — "Whilst many love the new Earl Grey, a group of Earl Grey fans have asked us to make the previous blend available. Not wishing to disappoint, we have introduced Earl Grey The Classic Edition," the statement reads — thereby shrewdly and cheaply reminding the British public of its national treasure.

The origins of Earl Grey tea and its bergamot-tinged recipe have been debated for ages, but Twinings made it the household name it still is today. The company first sold the blend in 1831, naming it after then-Prime Minister Charles Grey.

No comments:

Post a Comment