Friday, 24 September 2010

Monkey or Northern Folk?

The Tetley Folk are back on our screens after an absence of 8 years. Remember Gaffer, Sydney, Archie and Clarence? They featured in Tetley Tea ads for some 22 years before their disappearance, friendly Northern folk promoting 2000 perforations.

Well they’re back in an advert currently running. They are awakened by a drop of the famous tea spilt by a hapless intern in an office (not quite sure about that bit of the story).

In any case Tetley have been steadily losing market share to Unilever’s PG Tips. That’s the ad with the monkey and Johnny Vegas. Very creative ads from both sides, clearly the meerkat is getting the agencies on the animal trend again.

Of course PG Tips had the chimps for many years, so this brand is no stranger to using acting animals even if the latest actor is a stuffed one (must be a hellava lot easier to work with).

So are you swayed by the northern folk or the monkey?

Or are you only interested in a good cup of tea?

It’s an interesting study of product v brand. Of course in such a competitive environment, and dealing with a commodity product such as tea, it is very important to create some differentiation. Nothing wrong with a bit of emotional branding to keep awareness high.

I think it’s a great idea for Tetley to remember what they are about, brands are too quick to throw away great ideas because the marketing team feel like a change (see my blog post on M&S). Remember what makes your famous is mantra from David Taylor (see his excellent blog).

However, in this war of the clever ads, the PG Tips team and the Tetley team mustn’t forget that, for a lot of people, tea is all about the taste. Innovation is key. When triangular tea bags were introduced this was a stroke of genius, allowing the tea to diffuse better in the water.

Consumers are more likely to switch brands for the promise of a better taste, rather than because they have a penchant for cartoon characters.

So the spin is great but let’s not forget that product differentiation and innovation must also be high on the marketer’s list.

1 comment:

  1. You are spot on - it's about taste nowadays for more consumers than ever. Nothing will make me give up my Yorkshire Tea!