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Canada embarks on massive generic tea advertising campaign.

Canada embarks on massive generic tea advertising campaign

Canada is one of the world's leading tea consuming countries. Net imports totaled 14,181 tons in 1989 resulting in an apparent consumption of 0.68 kg. per head. Despite a modest consumption decline over the past 20 years, general population and age profile data seem to indicate a favorable potential, positive situation for increased tea consumption. Average annual population growth for the decade is estimated at 1.2%, lower, however, in the latter part than the earlier part. Age composition is also undergoing change with the "30-49" and "50 and over" age groups, typically high to relatively high consuming groups, increasing quite significantly. This could pose problems for beverages and drinks aimed at younger groups as they are faced with a declining share of the potential market. It does mean, on the other hand, competition is likely to intensify, even for the older age groups, as all beverage and drink manufacturers attempt to gain sales in these expanding market segments.

Given the historical age, consumption would appear to augur well for the future. However, recent research on consumption habits indicates that, while tea is still a very popular drink in Canada, the historical "hard core" tea drinkers are moving away from the beverage.

Specifically, females 35 + are drinking less tea than three years ago. This trend away from tea drinking by a group that has provided the mainstay of consumption over the years is cause for much concern within the industry.

Furthermore it is also quite clear that generally hot beverages are losing sales to cold, light unsweetened beverages and drinks. Added to this, or because of this, there has been rapidly increased promotion and publicity activity by other categories within the beverage industry. Milk, soft drinks, fruit juices, mineral waters, beer and wine are spending significant support dollars in conventional and generic advertising the promotion.

A decade ago the Council embarked on a planned promotional program with concentrated activities in three key areas--the general consumer, school education and the foodservice sector. These activities have come to be known as the "core program" and have formed a necessary sound base of good public relations, a program of education and educational services providing continuity and synergism of message.

It was agreed that tea was likely to gain in image and consumption, from improved awareness by providing information about the social, cultural, geographical and historical implications of the tea industry. The promotional activities of the Council were therefore geared to furthering general knowledge and improving attitudes about tea, in the first two instances, and improving the quality of tea and service in the out-of-home market.

For some time there has existed a desire to test the effectiveness of a carefully planned strategically defined generic advertising campaign. In late 1989, the marketing commettee developed a proposal which, following some revisions, was approved by the board of directors. While some incremental funding was agreed too, the campaign will be mainly funded from "core program" budgets in 1990 and 1991.

Comprehensive usage and attitude research was conducted to help determine the marketing and communications strategy.

The conclusions from this research reaffirmed some known facts and also provided key directional data:

* Hot drink consumption, and more psecifically tea consumption, has shown a downward trend since 1985.

* Water, fruit juice and milk appear to be the most obvious growth beverages.

* While tea is not currently viewed as an overtly healthy beverage, it clearly carries some health related connotations.

* Positioning tea on a health platform would require a considerable effort and a substantial budget since it would necessitate the chaning of currently held beliefs, rather than the reinforcement of existing ones.

* Promoting tea among those aged over 60 has obvious limitations and promoting it among those aged under 30 means competing in a group that is already heavily marketed to. The 30-49 segment would therefore appear to be the most appropriate segment to concentrate on.

* With limited resources, the most appropriate strategy may be to focus on the soothing, refreshing and natural taste elements against an executional background of health.

* Recognizing the move to cold drinks, it may still be best to sell tea on the basis of what it is--a hot drink.

Other lifestyle research further helped determine our strategies. A recent survey found that consumers believe that life is too chaotic and turbulent and that they are looking for anchors and controls to life. Today, consumers want to "relax and take the edge off." People are returning to classic, enduring products and doing things for their own pleasure--not to please someone else. In short, searching for balance and moderation.

Another survey found people are working long hours, experiencing high levels of stress and spending little time with their families. Eighty-one percent of the respondents said they experience stress, and 48% are under stress every day. Women, in particular, are juggling the demands of a career and family.

Consumers' real and perceived time pressures are likely to get worse during the next decade. The concept of "cocooning" is built upon the premise that it is possible to retreat from the stress and chaos of the world back into the "cocoon" of their homes.

Marketing Strategy

Hot tea will be positioned to tea drinkers 25-49 as the only beverage which offers a calming, soothing respite from the rigors and routine of contemporary daily life.

Hot tea is the only beverage to offer a soothing respite because of its inherent warmth, naturalness, convenience, and limited caffeine (versus coffee).

Program efforts will focus on building awareness of hot tea in a contemporary manner and encouraging retrial/increased frequency by current tea consumers.

Consumer Communications Strategy

(Media, PR, Consumer Promo.)

Communication Focus: Communication efforts will persuade tea drinkers to reconsider tea over other beverages, because in contrast, tea offers a calming, soothing respite from the rigors and routine of contemporary daily life.

Target Consumers: Adult tea drinkers 35-49, primarily female (70%), middle income households in A, B, C markets. Both working and non-working, with/without children.

* Lifestyle has become considerably more demanding and compromised. Concerned with own well-being.

* Tend to drink hot tea with afternoon/evening meals, at home.

* Use of hot tea (incidence and frequency) has waned because there are more beverages (cold) options both at home and out-of-home which they believe offer stronger, more tangible benefits (i.e. healthy, variety, refreshment, convenience). Tea is also no longer top of mind and is considered old-fashioned and somewhat time consuming.

Basic Consumer Benefit: Hot tea simply allows you to do something personal for yourself.

The Council invited a number of advertising agencies to submit an integrated marketing communication plan with prime emphasis to be centered on an appropriate tag line to support the advertising position. Five agencies presented their approach to the marketing committee, and two were selected to be researched to determine consumer understanding and acceptability. While both lines tested well one did perform outstandingly and, in essence, answered the key creative strategy questions.

What is the Communications Opportunity?

Tea drinkers are consuming less hot tea in favor of other beverages. The communications opportunity is to establish that drinking tea is as relevant in their terms to today's target consumer as it was to their parents.

What do we want people to do as a result of the communications?

On those appropriate occasions when "instant" beverage gratification is not required, we want target consumers to give tea primary consideration as the beverage of choice.

What is the key response we want from the communications?

"I can agree with that. There really are times when a good cup of tea is the perfect drink to have."

What information attributes might help provide this response?

Hot tea is light-tasting, relaxing, soothing drink. Hot tea is naturally refreshing and has no calories

What personality aspects should the communications address?

In an ever-changing world, tea is a reliable constant you can depend on. Tea is companionable, sociable and concerned about your well being. Tea is a good friend to have.

And so it was that the new tag line for the test advertising campaign and ultimately all other Council promotional activities is:

A "break" is a brief moment of the day that is set aside to relax--and that moment can be enhanced by the soothing, natural refreshment of tea. And unlike any other break, the time for tea is a simple, yet special pleasure that is not just enjoyed but savored.

Media Strategy Overview:

With restricted budgets, television, radio and newspapers were considered inappropriate and unaffordable vehicles to implement the plan. However, other media which took into account vital creative requirements were selected. With the test period set for September 1990 through May 1991, it was important that measurement of the campaign's effect could be utilized to determine viability of a national campaign. Ontario was selected as the most suitable test market because of its importance to total hot tea consumption and because the region is representative of tea drinking habits.

Media Selection: Consumer magazines were recommended as the primary medium for the Tea Council of Canada and advertising campaign. Transit shelters/mall posters were recommended as a support medium. Consumer magazines provide a cost efficient means of fulfilling the established media objectives;

* broad reach of the adult 25-49 target audience.

* means to skew execution to the female segment of the target audience.

* opportunity to capitalize on editorial environment that will enhance the advertising message

* long shelf life and thereby repeat reading/frequency of exposure.

* long shelf life and thereby repeat reading/frequency of exposure.

* quality reproduction/visual/element.

Transit shelters in conjunction with mall posters provide:

* broad reach of all segments of the target audience, visible to all pedestrians, transit, vehicular and mall traffic.

* a cost of efficient means of establishing a high level of frequency

* quality reproduction/high impact with larger than life visibility.

Within ontario, Toronto provided the means of most closely duplicating the national campaign as both transit shelters/mall posters and quality market specific publications were available.

The plan is in place, the first of the creative executions has been completed, and the outdoor portion of our impactful advertising will commence during the week of September 17th.

This test supplemented by a comprehensive public relations campaign, and no doubt opportunistic marketing activities by the Council's corporate members, is a tremendously exciting, and important, undertaking. We are all convinced that it will succeed and pre- and post-research will ultimately help determine to what extent this bold initiative has affected opinion and attitude, and more importantly perhaps consumption of quality hot black tea.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Reynolds, Gordon
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Oct 1, 1990
Words:1761
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