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Report from the Tea Council of Germany.

Report from the Tea Council of Germany

Last year's resolution to introduce a new corporate concept resulted in a restructuring process and a tighter and more efficient organization. All available financial means are channeled into concrete promotional measures, transparently documented and with a minimum of overhead expense.

In order to have a sound operating basis before pressing ahead with the new campaign, the supervisory board resolved to carry out a tea potential survey in early 1990. A market survey of this nature had last been performed in 1985.

The investigation concluded that today, with values such as healthy living, proper nutrition and physical well-being taking top priority in consumer consciousness, tea is a drink with unbeatable credentials--benign, delicious, refreshing, versatile, and calorie-free. The enormous variety and the reasonable price are further arguments in its favor, matched by no other beverage. The survey pointed out a little realized fact: tea offers a singularly unique combination of virtues, which can be summed up briefly as "enjoyment without side-effects." In addition, it confirmed that there is great potential for tea in the field of catering.

Last year, the consumption of so-called "healthy" drinks such as mineral water and fruit juice again increased considerably, with Germans now drinking more of these beverages than any other nation. Market figures seem to suggest that the consumer has inclined towards a higher intake of herbal infusions and fruit-based tisanes. Household statistics appear to indicate that home consumption has decreased slightly, in spite of virtually unchanged prices. However, since the borders separating East and West Germany have opened, the consumption situation has been influenced by the influx of sizeable amounts of tea into East Germany and stocking up by East German citizens living close to the borders and having easy access to shopping facilities in West Germany. Consequently, it is likely that the statistics paint a somewhat unprecise picture. The tea tax figures (the most reliable indicator of actual consumption) seem to confirm this, having shot up by 20% during the first six months of 1990.



The market survey carried out in spring 1990 pointed clearly to our target group for an advertising campaign: Young people who tend to drink tea only occasionally, and who are not yet committed to a particular beverage. A total of 172 black-and-white quarter-page and one-third page advertisements appeared in selection of selected magazines. The advertisements in cartoon-style had witty headlines and invited readers to submit an even wittier one, with a chance of winning a prize. Some 5,000 individual entries were received during the first six months the campaign ran, providing as a spin-off useful and interesting material for the continuation of the campaign. A new brochure presenting tea from the classic tea producing countries--India, Kenya and Sri Lanka--as a thoroughly up to the minute drink was developed and produced to complement the campaign.

We have devoted closer attention than hitherto to the catering trade, having seen that there are considerable resources in this field. A separate advertising campaign directed at this target group appeared in a selection of trade magazines. The full-page advertisements explained the objectives of the consumer campaign and invited active participation.

Public Relations

At the beginning of 1990, Gesellschaft fur Teewerbung entrusted the public relations agency BMC Concept PR with the task of developing and implementing a PR campaign, the objective of which was to project an image of tea that does this beverage justice, and to spread knowledge of the Tea Council as a centre of information and documentation. The PR agency and the advertising company operate hand in hand and can draw on a joint fund of knowledge and experience, so that all measures were ideally coordinated.

The agency compiled and evaluated market data and passed the prepared information on to the press as well as trade members for their own use, and monitored the positioning of tea in the media through permanent observation, in order to be able to recommend suitable lines of action.

Our press bulletin, "Tea News", has been streamlined to match the Council's new corporate identity. It is a vehicle for conveying facts and figures on tea and the Tea Council itself to the media. Our long standing excellent relations with individual representatives of the press were boosted by personal meetings, chats and tea tasting sessions. As a direct result, there were numerous full spread features in the highest circulation magazines as well as in trade journals, besides television and radio broadcasts.

To complement and enhance the effect of the advertising campaign in trade journals, the PR agency, together with Windi Winderlich Design-Kommunikation, produced an informative and eye-catching brochure of specialized information of particular interest to caterers and the trade in general.

In addition to the production of a new consumer brochure to complement the advertising campaign directed at young consumers not yet committed to a single beverage, the existing promotion aids and informative material were revised and brought up to date.

The shooting at German locations for the documentary tea film, a project approved at the annual general meeting in November 1989, has been completed. Production will continue early next year in the tea producing countries. The film will be constructed in such a manner as to allow its application for a number of purposes and target groups. Video versions will also be produced.

Sales Promotion

An analysis of the effectiveness of tea-serving activities at trade fairs came to the conclusion that it would be more prudent to invest the funds available for generic promotion in advertising and PR campaigns. For this reason, there were no trade fair activities in the year under report.

Lectures on tea at caterers' training colleges were continued. The Tea Council's lecturer, nutrition expert Traute Hartmann, also lectured for the benefit of municipal works and housewives' associations. The lecturing activities are to be extended to cover other areas.

Internal and external information service

The German Tea Council keeps in touch with numerous national and international organizations involved with tea, and so has constant sources of news relating to tea at its disposal. Since the beginning of 1990, this news and information is sifted and sorted to isolate all matters of interest to the members. This information is then translated where necessary and distributed together with monthly news letters. This keeps the members up to date not only on the current activities of the Tea Council, but also on international tea news.

The Tea Boards of India, Kenya and Sri Lanka, as well as their representative offices in Brussels, Bonn and London, receive regular quarterly reports on the Tea Council's activities and the situation on the German tea market.

The German Tea Council has built up a public reputation as a "Tea Consulate." Every enquirer, whether consumer, tutor or journalist, is provided with a "made to measure" package of information.

The 5th edition of the German Tea Council's manual on tea, "Tea for the Thirsty-Minded," went into print in 1990. This book is a bestseller amongst the many books on tea available today.
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Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Jan 1, 1991
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