Over the past decade, Yorkshire Tea has grown from a regional brand to become the UK’s number one tea, and while an entertaining creative strategy has been important in that, so too has been its media strategy which has had to evolve as it has become more successful.
What was definitely not part of its media strategy was the Twitterstorm that erupted early in March over Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s decision to post a picture of himself next to a catering-sized bag of Yorkshire Tea in the run-up to the 2020 Budget.
As most of the UK now knows, although some still refuse to accept it, Yorkshire Tea had nothing to do with that – a point Dom Dwight, marketing director for the brand owner Taylor’s of Harrogate, stressed at recent Thinkbox event.
But the PR coverage gained from the sure-footed response of the social media team – “Sue, you’re shouting at tea” being a particularly memorable example – cemented the brand’s position in the hearts of many consumers. (For more details, read WARC’s report: How Yorkshire Tea became the UK’s favourite brew.)
It hardly needs saying that the social media outburst wouldn’t have gained nearly as much traction if Yorkshire Tea hadn’t become the nation’s favourite brew – something it has achieved using what Dwight described as “old school advertising” in the initial period: bigger ads, longer ads, heavier weights in order to ensure the brand was seen while going up against the bigger budgets of multinational-owned competitors.
But as those rivals took their eye off the ball with only an intermittent presence in a declining market, Yorkshire Tea found itself in a new situation, sometimes able to claim a 100% share of voice.
“We entered a different world where we were more focused on becoming constantly top-of-mind, on being famous,” explained Dwight. “So there was this burst-and-pulse attitude to our media and a year-round presence.”
As part of this approach, the brand has developed a creative idea that doesn’t depend on one execution; having three 30-second ads that can be constantly rotated while landing the same point works better than hitting people with the same ad three times, Dwight reported.
There’s consistency and repetition involved “but we’ve been reinforcing with a fresh approach that ensures that people don’t become immune to it”.
Sourced from WARC