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A brand that woke up India – Tata Tea Jaago Re Campaign

With this piece, we take a look at Tata Tea Jaago re campaign case study. We understand how the initiative started and eventually translated into a great market and mind share in India. The author of this piece is Sundar Kondur, sir, is a Senior VP, Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd. (The Times of India Group), with his experience and love for this story, this piece becomes even more valuable. We’d like to also clarify that the views expressed in this piece are personal to the author.

Whether it’s delicate chamomile or jasmine or the heady flavor of Darjeeling to the everyday tea with milk, this humble beverage, kissed by nature is a daily habit. For the tea connoisseurs, it’s an experience akin to maybe a wine or whiskey lover.

For millions In India and around the world, this is truly the “wake up drink” and powers most Indians through the day.

Let’s rewind back to 15 years. Tata Tea was trailing behind leading brands like Taj mahal Tea, Lipton, Brooke bond tea etc from the stable of HUL. This is with reference to packaged and branded tea market. Tata Tea was ambitious, but had a huge task cut out for them – they had to tackle trade, distribution and more importantly capture mind space in a daily habit, where the ultimate customer was not always the deciding factor of the brand!!!

Mammoth task indeed.

Tata Tea had to find an out of the box strategy back in those days, to become the market leader.


India is a vast country with the 2nd largest population in the world & with a lot of infrastructure, law & order and administrative challenges. The mindset of most of the Indians is “Chalta Hai” which means ‘get away with it’! Be it bad roads, corruption, pollution, rape & molestation, or booth capturing, whatever is the problem, it is Chalta Hai! Inertia, apathy or lack of ownership being the main causes for people to pass on the blame and continue to rot in a conceded life.

Many socio-political issues were eating up the country faster than the most dangerous cancerous tissue and pulling us down all down under. Most of the country was oblivious to it as we were caught in the rut and couldn’t or wouldn’t see beyond our own selfish interests. A brilliant thought – Jaago Re(wake up in Hindi) was used metaphorically to wake up people from their “apathy induced sleep” and cleverly using the habit of waking up from sleep to drive home an important message. A cup of tea from a  physical revitalise became a social catalyst for social awakening! ….and the brand benefited and how!

Tata Tea Jaago re campaign – the beginning

The first Jaago Re ad spot was aimed at awakening the audience towards the responsibility of voting. A young lad questioning an election candidate about his qualifications, reminding him that the minister is indeed applying for a job; a job of running the country. The 45 seconds’ spot immediately won hearts. But what was so different? A lot of advertisements had touched the right chords. Enter – A website facilitating youth to apply for voter IDs, register as voters and spot the nearest voting booths. Aimed at registering One Billion votes, the brand partnered with Janaagraha, a non-partisan organisation.

This brilliant TVC wakes up the country with the thought and there was no turning back.

When the Tata brand launched Jaago Re, they probably had no idea of what they had stumbled upon. Social media was still a ‘likes’ game and TVCs had just begun to experiment with storytelling – finding the right duration, concept, and characters.

Tata Global Beverages worked with Janaagraha on a voter registration drive, with the campaign name “Jaago Re!”. Following this, the company moved the campaign on to opposing corruption. The Jaago Re website encourages debate and discussion centred around on this and other social issues, which frustrates us, but we choose to take it in our stride and say – “chalta hai”. The campaign, introduced in 2008, works with NGOs and other non-profit organization to raise awareness for specific causes around Indian general elections.

Since 2009, Tata Tea JaagoRe has been an active component of Tata Tea’s marketing initiatives. The focus of Tata Tea’s JaagoRe campaign has varied over the years.

The following year, Jaago Re came up with more compelling advertisements. This one featured the protagonist coaxing movie-goers on the election day by offering them tea to wake them up from their “sleep.”

Soon Jaago Re was a hit on television sets, in the digital world and offline making it very difficult for consumers to just say Jaago Re, without actually humming the entire tune.

Time to Time the Jaago Re has targeted different challenges of our society like, One Billion votes during 2009-10

One Billion Votes campaign is an initiative of Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy in partnership with Tata Tea Ltd. Janaagraha is a leading advocate for citizen’s participation in governance and seeks to find systemic solutions to the urban governance challenges facing India by working with union, state and local governments.

Out of the 12 member team from Janaagraha (all younger than 30) that is running this campaign, five are alumni from IIT Madras, who gave up their private-sector jobs to work solely on a cause they believe in. The campaign has an eminent Advisory Board, which includes Mr NR Narayanamurthy (Chairman and Chief Mentor, Infosys), Mr TS Krishnamurthy (ex-Chief Election Commissioner of India), Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Tariq Ansari (MD, Mid-Day Multimedia).

The campaign has been endorsed by the Election Commission of India.

Related: Take a look at Tata Pravesh #OpenHope campaign

RFGI and Jago Re! One Billion Votes urges all Indian citizens to get involved in the general elections.

Incremental Gross Profit & Total Income indicating increase in sales after the campaign.

Khilana Bandh, Pilana Suru during 2010-11 to encourage people to raise their voice against bribing. The campaign helped the brand to gage the national media to talk about the idea. Hindustan Times published the article “Once again, a social message in a hot cup”. The Advertising Club talking about the same basically indicated a huge earned media & PR.

Soch badlo during 2011-12 aimed at bringing to light the positive stories within the country.

2012-13 the campaign continued on a platform of positivity to “Simplify“, where though partnerships with Subject Matter Experts, it would attempt to offer deeper insights on important matters in newspaper headlines.

Simplify was launched in partnership with CHRI around the topic of “Know Your Police”. The content was created on this platform to simplify and educate readers on their rights and obligations in dealing with the Indian Police, and to make readers aware of their legal rights and duties.

During the same period Jaago Re initiated Choti Suruwat With Women’s Rights and safety at the forefront of most Indians’ minds and the Delhi Rape incident, Jaago Re shifted to a more women-centric platform to launch “Choti Shuruaat“. The objective of this campaign was to encourage individuals to make small gestures of change towards eliminating preconceived notions that cause Gender Stereotyping.

The current Jaago Re campaign has been initiated in the year 2013, centred on women’s empowerment called The Power of 49. The campaign aims to encourage women – who are 49% of the electorate – to vote as a block in the 2014 Indian General Election, increasing their ability to collectively demand attention and action from election candidates to make changes in their election manifestos towards more women’s safety and welfare focussed measures.

The Campaign under the Jaago Re umbrella has taken the Brand to the next level. National Business Dailies started talking about the campaign. The ET Brand Equity has covered & explained the campaign in length & breadth. Even Live Mint also carried an article on the same

2017 Tata Tea Jaago Re! files petition against the HRD Minister to make Gender Sensitization compulsory in Schools.

Tata Tea also started a campaign under Jaago Re during 2017 named ‘Alarm Bajne se Pehle Jaago Re’ urging people to stop reacting after tragedies hit and instead start ‘Pre-acting’, and prevent these issues from happening. Tata Tea is encouraging ‘Preactivism’, a behaviour of timely activism that happens before, to prevent unfortunate things.

Reminding the fact that how our elders used to take care of us when we were kids, Jaago Re! took initiative & appealed to the mass to do everything to protect our elders from the COVID 19 as the elderly generation is more vulnerable to the Coronavirus.

The campaign is called Iss Baar #Badonkeliye.

The Jaago Re went viral on Twitter as well & took off from the small beginnings or “Choti shuruaat” campaign where Shah Rukh Khan promises to make his small beginning by putting his heroine’s names first.  This time the theme is supporting NGOs that help empower women.

Twitter-based campaign that encourages you to “Make A Difference” #Tweet4Change. Make a Choti Shuruaat by tweeting your support for an NGO that helps empower women. For each tweet, Tata Tea Jaago Re will donate Rs.100.

The Campaign has initiated spectacular growth in terms of revenue & market share for Tata Tea over the years. The campaign breaks away from commercialization and instead focuses on making you an instrument for social change.  It draws attention to the empowerment of women which is necessary for this time when women in India have increasingly been targets of physical and emotional abuse.

Overall the campaign is in line with Tata Tea’s essence as a brand that promised freshness of the tea gardens, to a brand that awakens every Indian. It has transformed the way beverages are marketed through its ‘Jaago Re’ campaigns.

Awards won by the campaign:

Effie night Awards Dec. 2009

  1. Best Case Study Award for Tata Tea’s Jaago Re initiative
  2. Gold for the evening in the Consumer Products category for Tata Tea’s Jaago Re campaign

Effies 2010

  1. Consumer Product Peoples choice Award

Abby Awards by Advertising Agencies Association of India and the Advertising Club of Bombay during Nov. 2011

  1. Brand campaign website Award
  2. Creative use of social media Award
  3. Digital integrated campaign Award
Conclusion & Learning

The entire Campaign has created a large impact on the Indian consumer mind-frame & Tata Tea has positioned itself as the common man’s brand. The Brand has not only created a distinct identity with the Jaago Re! but have also wakened up society & the Youth to take responsibility & initiate the change. The following tables are the result of the hard work done by Tata Global Beverages. Every brand needs to create a purpose for its consumers to hook to the brand. With the cause marketing initiative “Jaago Re”, Tata Tea has not only created a purpose for the nation to stick to the brand but also has ensured a continuous effort to bring the change with

Related: Take a look at what is cause marketing?

Here is a story of an FMCG brand that took on a social cause, a burning issue and over the years made it a “pull brand”. The communication theme is so powerful that it lends itself to any social issue that is burning and needs you to “awaken” and do something about it.

Finally all this has to reflect in commercial/business sense and all the metrics like sales, profit and market share show an upward tick.

Interesting note on the Market share

During March 2006 Tata Tea’s nearest competitor was leading the Tea market in terms of Volume MS with 21.5% against Tata Tea’s 16.7% of the same. With respect to the market dynamics of 2020 Tata tea leads the market with 20% volume MS against HUL’s 17% of the same.

Build a differentiation and know your market

Most Indian tea brands are advertised using either the “refresh” or “re-energise” message. Tata Tea itself has used these approaches in the past (Kamal ki Taazgi) but to beat the leader Hindustan Unilever (HUL), it needed something slightly different. The brief given to advertising agency Lowe Lintas was to come up with an idea that will connect to a very large number of people, especially youth and not use the hackneyed ‘get refreshed’ line of thought.

According to Tarun Chauhan, executive director, Lowe Lintas, The Agency decided to come up with a tea that awakens you rather than one that wakes you up. In the two years that Jaago Re ran, it has re-energised the Tata Tea brand. According to AC Nielsen data, in June 2007, the monthly market share in the value of Tata Tea was 19.5 while HUL’s was 22. But figures for March 2009 show that Tata Tea has closed the gap: Its value share was 22.3 compared to HUL’s 23. In a market where it is very difficult to change user habits, even these seemingly small gains are considered significant.

According to Sangeeta Talwar, Executive Director of Tata Tea, they did a study across 4,500 consumers across rural and urban India, and the recall of the campaign for urban India was over 85 per cent. In rural India, we studied 1,000 consumers and the recall was 70-75 per cent.

What Tata Tea can now explore?

Chaiwalas (Local Tea Vendors): India is a vast country with 135 cr of population. Although there is no authentic – audited data available still assuming if there are even 3 cr. Chaiwalas out there in the country & selling 100 cups of tea a day on an avg. still India is selling 3 cr. cups of tea every day. It is a huge market which is untapped till now. Most of these tea vendors buy non packaged tea for their purpose. If Tata Tea can introduce any product (price friendly for these chaiwallahs), it will open up an enormous potential to increase the MS by a huge margin.

The Author:

The author of this piece is Sundar Kondur, if the piece adds value, head on to LinkedIn, and drop a thank you. You can also share the piece with your best friend on WhatsApp or LinkedIn.

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