What if…we represented Twinings?


News just in that tea company Twinings has appointed a new agency – well, three actually, but we’re going to concentrate on the “speciality tea” market – to handle its £12 million advertising budget (an increase in recent spending from £3 million). As ever, we keep our minds nimble by tossing around ideas pertaining to experiential campaigning in the office and, given this news, we’ve been chatting about Twinings this week…so.

As we see it the main problem that any tea company (or other “niche” food production operation for that matter) has is a lack of social relevance. This may be a contentious point but we have our reasons! Tea other than your average brew is something of an enigma – is it a health food? A status symbol? A lifestyle choice? A flavour-driven purchase? The answer is all of the above, or some of the above, or just one of the above. However, the point we’re trying to make is clear – tea is hard to place in the market and, with no anchoring (or, perhaps more importantly, newsworthy) angle, tends not to make much of an appearance in the public consciousness. We would intend to change that – and by doing so increase the customer base and, by extension, profits. It’s our job after all…

Now, bringing something into the public eye – without breaking a whole lot of laws – is not as easy as you may think. One normally successful method is to court a little controversy and let the media and word of mouth take over off the back of your edgy campaign. Even this has its pitfalls with an increasingly savvy and cynical audience always alert to campaigns that try too hard to win popularity.

In our quest for a bit of newsworthy notoriety we’d base our campaign around the UK’s love for cheeky seaside-postcard naughtiness…

The print campaign would take the form of a series of national press ads that would take one of two forms – both of which would play on an alleged sexual practice popularised in contemporary comedy…and which, coincidentally, has an association with tea. This is, as can be seen, very close to the bone – but it carries enough connotation of comedy and popular culture to be seen as edgy instead of beyond the pale.

The first print ads would simply feature two teabags and the strapline, “Fancy A Teabagging?” whilst the second would show a party guest, seemingly the worse for wear, being handed a cup of Twinings Tea amongst the wreckage of a room with the strapline, “A Teabagging That Will Actually Make You Feel Better”.

We’d also run these print ads in tandem with a nationwide competition and travelling roadshow.

The competition would be based around the idea of Extreme Tea Drinking. There are a growing number of activities that now have “extreme” followings – ironing being the most famous – with the idea being to perform a seemingly mundane task in an apparently daredevil fashion (underwater, on cliff faces…that kind of thing!). We would seek to give tea a similar cult following, attempting once again to give it a defined base in popular culture.

The competition would require people to enter photos of themselves enjoying Twinings in an “extreme” fashion. These images would later be used in further, secondary ad campaigns (with the strapline, “Twinings. Not Just Another Tea.”).

Finally the last of the concurrent activity, as mentioned, would be a roadshow – the Tea Bus. Its presence and purpose would be to give the public across the country the chance to learn more about the tea process, its history, tea varieties and their relation to health and wellbeing. This educational aspect would be combined with the chance to mix your own tea blends and win holidays to each of the world’s tea producing countries. Furthermore it would include an extreme tea-drinking funfair with rides tailored to reflect tea and associated products (as an example we would have the “Storm in a Teacup” – a fast and furious version of the traditional spinning teacup ride) to encourage families to see the roadshow as an entertaining day out.

This risqué, edgy and exciting campaign and its resultant consumer involvement would, we feel, carve out a niche for Twinings as the UK’s coolest tea brand.

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