LIPTON STIRRING UP $52 MIL;NATURAL BREW GETS PUSH WHILE COMPANY AIMS TO BOOST TEA USE

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Thomas J. Lipton Co., in an effort to reverse the commodity image of tea, is pouring on a $52 million ad and promotion campaign.

At the same time, Lipton is rolling out a new product called Lipton Natural Brew. Lipton is repackaging and repositioning its entire tea line and breaking spot and network TV and radio advertising in mid-May, along with couponing and in-store sampling.

Russ Sherwood, VP-marketing for Lipton's beverage division, said the goal is to increase consumption. "Overall, tea sales have soared in recent years, paced by unprecedented growth of the ready-to-drink segment," he said. "But sales of tea bags and powdered teas have lagged behind."

The new product's innovation, Lipton says, lies in Natural Brew's similar flavor profile to real-brewed tea. Priced at a premium to Lipton's regular iced tea mix, Natural Brew will be marketed in sugar-sweetened, diet and unsweetened varieties and in lemon, raspberry, peach, tropical tea and lemonade flavors.

$8 MIL FOR ADS

Natural Brew will receive $8 million in ad support, along with promotional contests, sweepstakes, free standing inserts and a Nascar racing promotional sponsorship; the umbrella effort that includes Natural Brew will get another $12 million. The remainder of the spending will go to promotion, merchandising and public relations efforts for the new item and existing Lipton Brisk tea bags.

Creative is still being finalized by J. Walter Thompson USA, New York.

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