How PG tips will make its brand ‘relevant’ in the face of declining tea sales

PG tips is launching a “disruptive” £5m campaign supporting its recent packaging refresh in an effort to address declining tea sales in the UK.

The “Keep it Tea” campaign, created by Mother, will kick of from September across OOH, VOD and social media in an effort to “remind consumers of the continued cultural relevance of tea”.

It comes after the brand refreshed its entire range of packaging in June for the first time since 1996 to create “standout on shelf”, “reaffirm its authority within the category” and address declining tea sales.

Research from Mintel earlier this month showed that while two thirds (69%) of tea drinkers agree tea is an important part of a social occasion, volume sales of tea have declined by 22% in the last five years while value sales have fallen by 6% to £654m.

Mintel also forecasted that volume sales will continue to fall to 68.7 million kg by 2020.

However, only ordinary tea seems to be suffering, with sales falling by 13% to £425m from 2012 to 2014 while sales of fruit and herbal teabags rose by 31% to £76m during the same period. Sales of green teabags also rose by 50% to £36m.

Emma Clifford, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel, says: “Standard black tea is struggling to maintain consumers’ interest amid growing competition from other drinks – held back by a rather uninspiring image. This has translated into the downfall of the tea category overall.”

PG tips is hoping its new campaign and packaging refresh will “create maximum disruption” for the brand and give it a more contemporary image in order to drive penetration among a younger audience.

Kate Hearn, senior brand manager for PG tips at Unilever UK, told Marketing Week: “The change is part of our ongoing strategy to ensure the brand remains relevant to our core PG fans while being enticing to younger consumers.

“We’ve listened to our consumers and redesigned our packaging to make the brand more relevant, confident and contemporary to shoppers.”

PG tips isn’t the only brand trying to halt the decline through a major marketing push.

In July Yorkshire Tea said it was increasing its marketing spend to £5m over the next 12 months in an effort to overtake Tetley as the second largest tea brand in the UK. That came after IRI data cited by the brand showed that sales of the black tea category had dropped by 4.5% over the last 12 months.

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