Red Label brews togetherness through its socially inclusive advertising

Red Label ad campaigns highlight tea and its ability to diffuse tension and awkward situations to bring people closer


Brooke Bond Red Label’s latest campaign ‘Forgotten’ talks about a neurological disease Alzheimer’s and how people suffering from this disease face social alienation.
Brooke Bond Red Label’s latest campaign ‘Forgotten’ talks about a neurological disease Alzheimer’s and how people suffering from this disease face social alienation.

New Delhi: Think of a tea brand campaign and an array of images come to mind from a teapot brewing to a picture perfect family enjoying a tasty cup of tea, a form of advertising Brooke Bond Red Label bid adieu to in 2014.

Adopting a new proposition Swaad Apnepan ka (Taste of Togetherness) the Hindustan Unilever owned brand started creating campaigns which highlighted tea and its ability to diffuse tension and awkward situations to bring people closer. The idea was to encourage people to be more inclusive and accepting, irrespective of culture, gender and other differences.

Brooke Bond Red Label’s latest campaign Forgotten is an extension of the same thought where it talks about a neurological disease Alzheimer’s and how people suffering from this disease face social alienation.

The film, made by brand’s advertising partner Ogilvy & Mather, features a heart-warming story of an elderly woman (Nutan aunty) and her young neighbour who she mistakes to be her son (Amit) who lives abroad. He often drops by to give her company and share a warm cup of tea.

“With our busy schedules, we often feel we have little time to devote to our elders. With this film, we hope that we are able to nudge the young Indian viewers into being more connected to those around them,” said Shiva Krishnamurthy, general manager, beverages, Hindustan Unilever Limited.

Brooke Bond Red Label’s socially inclusive advertising journey started with the Neighbour ad in 2014 which touched upon an oft-repeated yet sensitive theme—the Hindu-Muslim divide in India. The spot featured how a reluctant Hindu couple locked out of their house is invited by their Muslim neighbour for a cup of tea which acts as an ice breaker. The second campaign Surprise Visit talked about a rather socially awkward topic of live-in relationship featuring actor Himani Shivpuri playing a doting and open-minded mother who accepts her son’s girlfriend living with him.

However, the biggest gamble as well as an equally rewarding decision by the brand was creating a campaign on transgender community. Its Six Pack Band video on India’s first transgender band, not only stood out for its theme of inclusivity but also managed to bag the highest creative recognition in the ad world, the Cannes Grand Prix last year.

“The Swad Apnepan Ka campaign has given us great results on brand usership, salience and equity besides the numerous accolades it has won (including Cannes Grand Prix). People have resonated with our inclusiveness mission,” said HUL’s Krishnamurthy. However, he is quick to add that being the oldest brand in a mature and universally penetrated category like tea, its biggest marketing challenge is to break clutter in an increasingly connected world.

Like Red Label, its competitor Tata Tea has also refreshed its brand narrative and rolled out a bigger and better version of its decade-old campaign Jaago Re focussing on pre-activism, a concept that urges consumers to act before a tragedy happens.

Also read: Why wait for a tragedy to happen? asks Tata Tea in its new ‘Jaago Re’ campaign

Ambi M.G. Parameswaran, a brand strategist and founder of Brand-Building.com, feels that both tea majors have done a laudable job of embracing a bigger agenda. According to him Brooke Bond Red Label has done a commendable job weaving the product proposition with the story. “It is often a challenge when you want to add a social message into the narrative. I think Brooke Bond Red Label has managed to weave in the product into the center of the conversation in its campaigns,” he said.

More From Livemint