Lipton on why it is thinking ‘outside TV’

Lipton has launched its first ever mobile-first campaign in a bid to show up “in the right places” and showcase “the human side of tea”.

Lipton – #BeAMaker from Marketing Week on Vimeo.

Lipton has ditched TV for a mobile-first campaign in order to reposition the brand for a younger audience and highlight its ethical credentials.

The ‘#BeAMaker’ campaign sees Lipton drive its sustainable living efforts for the first time, with content-focused marketing hosted only online.

The short-form content looks to tell the stories behind the brand’s young tea farmers in Kenya. There are five stories in total, which the brand has divided up into 80 pieces of content such as three-second gifs and 15-second in-stream videos. The content will be hosted on numerous online platforms, including Facebook and YouTube. The tea brand will not be doing any television advertising around the campaign.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to drive visibility and transparency of the people behind the cup of tea. We feel millennials are even more likely to connect with human stories, and so we wanted to make [the campaign] contemporary for that demographic,” said Ian Busch, global brand director.

The Unilever-owned brand decided to go mobile first, as it believes that is how its consumers access content, with the majority of consumers’ time spent on Facebook, YouTube and messaging apps.

“Fundamentally, we are trying to move where they are, so on the right device at the right time. We want to start thinking outside of TV and consider what the right mix is for us as a brand,” Ben Morrison, global senior digital manager, told Marketing Week.

Morrison added that the rest of the sector is still very much focused on placing a TV ad first and following “a traditional story arch”. Although he does believe that TV can play an “amazing” role, it does not always fit in with how people consume content.

“We explored how we could tell a one-minute TVC in three seconds. It has really helped us as marketers to tighten our messaging and changed the traditional narrative,” he said.

The campaign was also a push by the brand to refresh its digital strategy and to make sure that its mobile content would not annoy consumers.

“Marketers are very good at creating ads, but when we see a skippable button ourselves we hammer it. So we need to make sure people actually like the content. We wanted to make it as uninterruptive as possible, but that people can still get a quick take of what we’re trying to say,” he commented.

Challenging times for tea

The tea market is facing a challenging time. Value sales have fallen by 6% from £699m in 2010 to an estimated £654m in 2015 across the tea retail market in the UK.

Meanwhile, in volume terms over the same time period, sales have dropped by 22%, from 97 million kg to an estimated 76 million kg. Mintel forecasts that volume sales will drop to 68.7 million kg by 2020.

However, Busch remains optimistic. He said the innovation agenda of the sector is becoming much more speed driven and that the ‘premiumisation’ of the category makes it “an exciting place to be”. That said, he admits the sector’s advertising focus has been “passive”, with most brands showcasing tea as a product perfect for relaxing. Lipton is now trying to change that.

Busch concluded: “We want to drive the connectivity element of tea and the unity that tea drives. We don’t just want to use innovative ways of driving comms but also have more of a purpose and a point of view.”

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