TNB Night Owl – Tea Whiz

Iced tea, photo by Markus Spiske

In the early 1970s, Nestea brought to market a new product which they thought would be the next big thing – a lightly carbonated combination of iced tea and lemonade. All someone had to do was pop open a chilled can and pour it into a glass.

They called it “Tea Whiz”, to rhyme with “Gee Whiz”, an exclamation of surprise. It was designed to aid in marketing, handing the ad agencies a slogan opportunity.

The lemon / iced tea combination was already very popular; the question was whether it would be equally popular with a higher concentration of lemon flavor. In subsequent years, an “Arnold Palmer”… effectively the same drink… would achieve nationwide prominence, so the answer was obviously “yes”.

All of that said, Tea Whiz lasted only a few weeks before abysmal sales saw it pulled from shelves.

Part of it was the taste. Nestea in cans was somewhat acidic and tended to leach metallic flavors from the container; when a stronger dose of lemon was added, that problem became pronounced. The same drink which won widespread approval in initial testing wasn’t quite as delicious after sitting in its can.

But the biggest problem, by far, was the decision to call a yellowish liquid “Whiz” and expect people to buy it. In addition to its common definitions as “speedy” or “brilliant”, it is used as a slang term for urine.

As the market later demonstrated, “Arnold Palmer” was a better choice.

Question of the night: What’s a discontinued (or no longer stocked in your area) drink that you enjoyed?

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.