Sales of the black tea category dropped by 4.5% over the last 12 months according to IRI data cited by the brand. Kevin Sinfield, Yorkshire Tea’s marketing manager, told Marketing Week that Yorkshire Tea was the only major black tea producer to see sales growth, which was up by 3.5%.
In order to build on this momentum, the brand is kicking off its marketing push with a BMB-created 60-second TV ad on Monday (6 July) that stars Yorkshire Tea employees as well as England cricket captain Michael Vaughan, musician Hannah Trigwell and cyclist Mike Hall.
The TV campaign will be supported by outdoor, PR, digital, experiential and social.
Sinfield claims the brand is now worth £75m and has grown its share of the UK black tea market, which is led by PG Tips, by 6.5% over the last five years.
Euromonitor data shows that the brand was also fourth in the total tea category in 2014, growing its share from 4.9% to 5.5%.
“It’s a declining market where we’re up against some huge power brands,” he said. “Not only iconic British brands, but icons of British advertising like PG Tips and Tetley. We’re bucking the trend against the big boys.”
Addressing ‘apathy’ towards tea
The new campaign will be “more challenging” than the brand’s previous efforts according to Sinfield as it is looking to address the “apathy” towards tea in the UK.
“In the past we’ve always tried to share the joy of a cup of tea, but now we’re looking to challenge a bit of apathy towards the product,” he said.
He added that tea is often bought habitually or on deal, something the brand is trying to change.
“It’s not that fewer people are drinking it, but they’re drinking less of it,” he said.
He added that innovation in the world of coffee and soft drinks is also impacting the declining black tea market.
“People are drinking more fruit, herbal and green teas and there’s such a proliferation of choice now,” he said. “We’re trying to make sure black tea is still a key part, if not the cornerstone, of that drinking repertoire.”
Meanwhile, the brand will promote its third year as the official tea of the England cricket team with a number of activities throughout the summer.
It has invested in virtual reality to allow matchgoers to experience what it feels like to play a cricket game against Jimmy Anderson using an Oculus Rift headset, and has also challenged consumers across the country to come up with their best “tea creations” as part of the Yorkshire Tea Great Cricket Tea Challenge.
“We’re trying to differentiate ourselves and looking for activities to make us stand out from the crowd,” he said.
However, he added: “Our approach has been steady. We’re looking at a longer term view to build a sustainable brand.”