Worm in a tea cup: Lipton uses Twitter video to clarify

By Ashee Sharma , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | February 26, 2016
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'Worms in Lipton tea' alleges consumer on Facebook. Brand team responds with an interesting social media video.

Today, even as brands go ballistic over digital marketing and social media, they are pretty much conscious of the fact that the agility and reach of the medium could be a boon or a bane for them. While many experience this downside of the digital platform, there are some like Lipton Tea who use it to launch a counter attack.

Lipton clarifies its stand

The story begins with a Facebook post in which a woman claims to have found "live worms in several boxes of Lipton Lemon Green Tea". She asserts, through a video, that the curious find is neither green tea, nor some herb; it, therefore, has to be worms. The allegation is such that it leaves no doubt lingering in the viewers' mind. She even goes a step further to flip the product pack to show the expiry date to be 2017, thereby implying that the product is still fresh and falls well within its consumption period. The video was posted on February 20, 2016, and went viral on social media.

Slamming the allegation, Lipton put out another video on its social media channels on February 23, which said, "The video claiming worms in Lipton Green Tea is false. There are no "worms" in our tea bags. These are small lemon flavour pieces which have been mistaken for worms. If you put the lemon flavour pieces in hot water, they will dissolve, as you can see from this video. The tea is of the highest quality standard and is absolutely safe to consume."

Lipton is among the world's leading tea brands, sold in more than 150 countries. In 1880, 40-year-old, Glasgow-born entrepreneur and innovator Thomas Lipton, envisioned an opportunity to make tea universally accessible, with guaranteed quality at acceptable prices. He began by purchasing tea estates in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, and arranged packaging and shipping at low costs to sell his tea directly from the tea gardens to the tea pot. In 1893, he established the Thomas J Lipton Co., a tea packing company, with its headquarters and factory in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Lipton teas were an immediate success in the United States and the United Kingdom. In recognition of his contribution, Thomas Lipton was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1898, and at age 48, became Sir Thomas Lipton.

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