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Brand Yatra:Tata Tea - Awakening the nation with a hot cuppa and more

17-September-2009
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Brand Yatra:Tata Tea - Awakening the nation with a hot cuppa and more

Brand: Tata Tea
Past and Current agency: Lowe Lintas has been handling the business for the last six years. Prior to Lowe, Dentsu was handling the creative mandate.

A roller-coaster ride in a tea cup

The brand journey of Tata Tea has been nothing less than a roller-coaster ride, especially in the recent past with the brand taking the platform of Jaago Re. The advertising of Tata Tea earlier relied heavily on talking about maintaining the freshness of tea gardens in its pack and bringing to its consumers the same freshness. Later, this was tweaked to highlight the ‘taazgi’ and physical and metal rejuvenation brought about by consuming a cup of Tata Tea.

The company then came up with this ‘mega idea’, where they moved from the premise of just mental and physical rejuvenation to intellectual awakening, hence the ‘Jaago Re’ campaign.

Sangeeta Talwar, Executive Director, Tata Tea Ltd, explained, “With the changing times, the brand has also grown manifold. There has been a constant urge and search to do something new, which will help us in building the brand value. We moved from the trajectory of garden-packed freshness to physical and mental rejuvenation. During 2004-06, we took the platform of ‘Taste Kamyaabi ka’, which featured Sania Mirza and talked of the taste of success.”

She continued, “We had become the largest tea company by volume in India and the survey revealed that tea was the largest beverage being consumed after tap water. Taking this as an insight, we wanted to move to a larger platform. In October 2007, Tata Tea joined hands with Janaagraha, a Bangalore-based not-for-profit organisation that has been doing pioneering work in the areas of urban advocacy and governance, thus embarking on the ‘Jaago Re’ platform.”

Waking up to Jaago Re

Tata Tea took on the premise of Jaago Re with the sole idea that the morning cuppa is synonymous with waking up every morning, so why not use this metaphor of awakening in a larger sense. Talwar said, “The entire Jaago Re campaign is about waking up to the apathy that surrounds us and then do something to bring about a change. We were looking at inviting people to engage in a meaningful way and not just stop at giving the idea. Thus, an entire support programme was designed, where people could go on the website and get details on voting and also facilitate online voter’s registration.” The success of the campaign can be gauged from the fact that in November 2008, the campaign received phenomenal response with over 100,000 registrations on the website. This was in just over two months since its launch! The success can also be understood by the fact that Jaago Re and Tata Tea managed to etch themselves in the memory of people and have a high brand recall today.

The agency’s take

Tarun Singh Chauhan, ECD, Lowe Lintas, said, “The Tata Tea campaign is about liberation and empowerment. The insight was to make tea more appealing to the young generation, who frequent the coffee joints. The whole idea of awakening is integral to tea, as that is how people look at it. We made this concept more relevant by using the awakening in a broader sense, thus making the brand more interesting and relevant. A lot of credit goes to the client as they have been extremely open to the ideas.”

The first phase of Jaago Re focused on getting people, especially the youth, to exercise their right to vote, hence enabling them to be the change agents. The campaign was really visible much before the general elections this year and got many to stand up and notice. The campaign now has already moved to its second phase and the focus this time is on making India a corruption free country. ‘Aaj Se Khilana Bandh, Pilana Shuru’ – that’s the tagline of the new campaign. The campaign aims at not just creating awareness about corruption, but communicating to the people that ‘You should be the change you seek’.

Said Talwar, “One of the single largest deterrents of the speed at which public and private investment and sectoral and social reforms can impact the life of ‘Aam Admi’ is corruption. Corruption is a malaise that is endemic to our everyday life. It is the largest tax on India’s future. Corruption extracts a tremendous cost on entrepreneurial activity, economic opportunity and prosperity. If we are to create an open access society, leverage India’s diversity, its demographic dividend, its social and intellectual capital, ameliorate poverty and work towards the progress of the masses, we must do something quick and drastic to remove corruption.”

What next?

Tata Tea is looking at a re-branding process, which Talwar dubs as more of a strategic imperative. Though the time frame could not be ascertained for the change, but one thing is clear that it would be more of an innovation-led transformation. She further said, “Tea is a low interest category, but the key learning for us with the success of Jaago Re is that if one is able to reinvent an old brand and bring enough value to the brand, then there is no looking back. The idea is to look beyond the transaction value of a brand.”

“The consumer landscape is constantly evolving, so the need is to allow engagement and not just an emotional connect. Make the brand experience larger so that it becomes poignant, important and continuous,” Talwar added.

An onlooker’s perspective

Thomas Xavier: Chairman and National Creative Director, Orchard Advertising, observed, “I think Tata Tea has done an excellent job of taking a cause and linking it to the brand space. For cause marketing, one needs to be careful to be not exploitative in the sense that it is not sales centered, and once that is achieved, the cause is given a cold shoulder. This has not been the case with Tata Tea, and it has acted as an activist beyond advertising. Also, the brand recall is very high as the platform of Jaago Re is appropriate as the name signifies what tea is supposed to do – awaken people.”

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