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Awaken to cause-related tea!

Tata Tea’s Jaago Re ad is a campaign with a social tone and associating a product brand with the cause was a good way to differentiate themselves. Saurabh Turakhia tells us.

business Updated: Dec 21, 2007 00:01 IST
Saurabh Turakhia

We’ve mostly seen ‘social responsibility’ messages coming from corporates. This one comes from a product brand: Tata Tea’s Jaago Re ad campaign is linked more to the tea brand than the company. According to Sushant Dash, brand custodian of Tata Tea, "Normally, a corporate house comes up with campaigns with a social tone. Hence, associating a product brand with the cause was a good way to differentiate ourselves. Moreover, tea is definitely about waking the consumer up; there was a fit in establishing Tata Tea as a brand that not just wakes people, but awakens them."

The campaign has been on air since October. The first and main commercial – a 45-seconder, reduced now to a 30-seconder – shows the protagonist asking a politician what his qualifications are for taking up the “job of running the nation”. And then there are five 10-seconders, each in the form of a question. One asks whether CCTVs should be placed in all government offices to check corruption; another about having 'no-car days'; another whether police stations should have treadmills; and yet another that asks whether bad roads should be named after the irresponsible contractors who worked on them. The instances picked for the ads, presented humorously, would click with most Indians. The style is breezy, unexaggerated, yet punchy. That the questions asked are left unanswered tweaks interest. Jaago Re, the phrase and tune, keeps the central idea together through the campaign.

Harish Bijoor, CEO of Harish Bijoor Consults, feels that the move is more of a necessity for the category. "Tea is a mother category today, which has tried advertising USPs that are functional, emotional and even surreal. Now, it is time to try something new." He points to Surf, which tried something similar with its “Do bucket paani bachana hai” campaign. Such advertising, he says, stirs a discussion to garner brand recall.

Sangeeta Talwar, executive director, Tata Tea Limited, says that the Jaago Re positioning is a long-term branding initiative. Tata Tea is certainly on an aggressive mode since the past few months. In June this year, it overtook competitor Hindustan Unilever Limited in the volumes game. In value though, HUL is slightly ahead.

Bijoor points out that it may be a strategy to protect the turf: "Such advertising is good for recall, but not for much else. The brand is essentially looking at maintaining its market share with such advertising and not necessarily increasing it."

Dash says that the ad campaign is being extended to below the line initiatives, which have been allotted 30 per cent of the total campaign budget. The campaign will sponsor a weekly consumer column in the magazine, Outlook, for eight weeks.

On radio, Jaago Re will be a show taking up major issues that need to be addressed, in six cities. A website,, has been set up. Talwar adds that the company has entered into a year-long association with Arsenal FC, UK’s football league, to co-sponsor Tata Tea Arsenal Soccer Stars, a coaching programme.