Immigration law may cause AriZona Iced Tea to regret its name

Illegal immigrantWhat's in a name? There's more to it than you might think as a certain New York beverage manufacturer found out recently.

AriZona Iced Tea found itself brewing in Arizona's controversial immigration law that allow police to demand citizenship proof from people they think look like they are in the country illegally. The legislation has divided the country with one half shouting to boycott all things Arizona and the other celebrating the bold move. Caught in the mess is AriZona Iced Tea, whose only connection to it all is its name, which it shares with the state.

On Wednesday, the company's founders released a statement reminding customers about its roots.

"AriZona Beverages proudly traces its origins back to New York," the statement says. "In 1992, two hard working guys from Brooklyn with a dream created AriZona Iced Tea. Since then ... we have remained loyal to our family-run business based in New York. For the last 16 years, our headquarters have remained on Long Island."

The tempest began brewing for the company when comedian George Lopez made a joke on his show that he went to buy a AriZona Iced Tea, and they asked him for his documentation. That set Twitter abuzz with folks calling to ostracize the company along with other Arizona-based corporations such as PF Chang's, Cold Stone Creamery and U-Haul.

AriZona Iced Tea did the right thing by addressing the problem immediately and clarifying any misconceptions, said Scott Testa, professor of business administration at Cabrini College.

"The worse thing you could do is bury your head in the sand and hope that something like this would go away," Testa said in a phone interview. "In today's day and age with communication and rumors spreading so rapidly, you have to move that much quicker to address any problem head on."

Consumer behavior expert C. Britt Beemer says that company, along with clarifying any rumors, should also take this opportunity to spread another message.

"Boycotting any American company is not American," Beemer said. "That's what the Soviets and the Nazis did. The message should be to buy American products and support made-in-America goods."
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