This is the story of how a new advertising campaign helped Yorkshire Tea take its next big step, transforming it from a cult favourite into a genuine national treasure that could challenge for market leadership.
The business challenge – break the shopping habit of a lifetime
We should start by pointing out that standard black tea is a VERY hard market in which to create growth.
First, it's a market in long-term decline. Older tea drinkers are dying off and kids aren't picking up the habit. Total sales of standard black tea dropped by a terrifying 22% between 2012 and 2016, from £480M to just E374M1.
Second, tea is one of the most habitual purchases there is. People basically buy the same tea they grew up with for the rest of their lives. It is very, very difficult to get these 'Sleep shoppers' to switch brands2.
And third, tea has two incredibly strong market leaders who have built-up decades of equity in the minds of the public. Tetley with their Tea Folk (who first appeared in 1973) and PG Tips with their Monkey character (a decade old property who connects to their famous Chimps campaign dating back to 1957!)