November 9th, 2008 | 2 MIN READ

Customers Divided Over UniTea Campaign

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

Perhaps we can agree religion and politics have no place in retail email marketing?

While many can play it safe and avoid references to Christmas with "holiday" or "season," political-themed emails may require the same finesse. Chad White of the Email Experience Council flagged some examples of some election-themed retail emails that may offend. For example, Spiegel used “Luxury First!” in an email, which may be received as a mockery of the Republican presidential slogan “Country First." Says Chad, "It stops being clever when people are feeling attacked."

An online tea-tailer sent this email post-election:

United States of Tea

Unite our post-election nation by sending a gift of tea across the blue/red divide. Mail a gift of tea between any blue and red states, selecting $19 or more and your shipping is free.

Other than the fact that this email clicks through to a home page that doesn't repeat the offer or promotion, I didn't find anything offensive about the email (but then again, I'm Canadian).

It does seem a bit complicated (requires looking up a voting map and figuring out which friends/family live there and predicting what kind of tea they may fancy).

But apparently this email did cause a stir, according to Adagio Tea's Twitter posts:

Says one Twitter follower:

Regardless, kudos to Adagio for being open and addressing the issue through Twitter (and inviting email subscribers to engage through Twitter in the email campaign). I'm curious if a formal correction, clarification or apology will be sent via email, as well.

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