Richard Reed on getting into trouble [Video]
The Innocent Drinks co-founder Richard Reed recalls how two plump nuns created a minor legal issue for the UK’s most popular smoothie brand
Speaking at Innocent Drinks’ headquarters Fruit Towers, Innocent’s co-founder Richard Reed discusses how the company’s sense of humour has sometimes got the brand into legal trouble because of the “pretty subversive messages” it uses on its product ingredient panels.
Outlining his most memorable business and start-up controversies, entrepreneur Reed recalls how Innocent generated a mixed reaction with a parenting quip, which it used as a metaphor to explain that “separation may sometimes occur” between the smoothie’s ingredients, but that “mummy still loves daddy”.
Innocent may have found its marketing humour amusing, but it didn’t go down as well as the smoothie with some people.
Reed also shares the company’s legal misdemeanour which arose out of the use of the term ‘two plump nuns’ among the smoothie’s ingredients. It led to a formal hearing and inquiry with UK Trading Standards on the basis that suggesting there were two plump nuns in the smoothie might confuse people!
Incredibly, Reed says he received a letter telling Innocent that the company had to take the reference to the nuns off the smoothie’s ingredient list “or start putting them in your fruit juice”. As legal issues go it had little impact on the growth of the business.
Instead, getting a letter like that was a “great day” for the cheeky company and while it may have proved a minor distraction for the business it shows how valuable well-worded marketing messages can be for a start-up.
Innocent succeeded in getting itself noticed and talked about, widely copied by other brands, and made it a desirable company to work for. Plus, Reed and co-founders Jon Wright and Adam Balon lived to tell the many tales.