Brand Barometer - Twinings pulls off a surprising coup

Amusing ads featuring a popular frontman succeed in making tea popular with the younger market.

Stephen Fry has been advertising Twinings tea since 2005, but the tea giant has now given him a young, black American assistant - called Tyrone - to help him promote its speciality brews.

The effect is rather like a stereotypical American buddy cop movie. The new ads show upper-crust English gent Fry and Tyrone running a Twinings teashop, with the resultant "hilarious" culture clashes between the two men.

In the most recent ad, Fry teaches Tyrone to appreciate tea, while in turn he is taught to appreciate gangsta rap, resulting in the unusual observation that if gangsta rappers drank Twinings Chai, perhaps they "wouldn't be so keen to pop a cap in anyone's ass".

Cheesy they may be, but the latest figures on YouGov's BrandIndex suggest the ads have had a positive effect upon the public's perceptions of the brand.

When they first aired in mid-November, Twinings buzz rating (the proportion of people who have heard something positive about the brand minus those who have heard something negative) rose from +7 to +11, while its quality rating increased from +31 to +35.

Perhaps more significantly, since Fry has been fronting its advertising, Twinings has opened up an advantage among younger consumers.

At the beginning of the year, general impressions of the brand were, on average, almost identical for under-40s and over-40s. In recent months, general impressions are six points higher among consumers under the age of 40 than among over-40s.

By using amusing ads with a popular frontman, Twinings seems to have pulled off a surprising coup. It has made a brand that you might expect to appeal to old-fashioned customers - speciality teas - appeal to the younger market.

The latest campaign may be a touch cliched and conform to every stereotype in the book, but in Fry, it seems Twinings has found a frontman with sufficient charm and humour to pull it off.


YouGov's BrandIndex is a daily measure of public perception of more than 1,100 consumer brands across 32 sectors, measured on a seven-point profile, with data delivered on the next day.

YouGov interviews 2,000 people each weekday, more than half a million interviews per year.

This means you can spot trends as soon as they happen, not when it's too late. Respondents are drawn from an online panel of more than 130,000.

The score is the net rating: people are asked to identify the brands to which they have a positive response, and then those to which they have a negative response, to whatever is the prompt measure.

The net score is the positive minus the negative.

The seven measures that make the complete profile are below.

Each is taken independently - in any one survey, any individual respondent is asked about only one measure for the sector, not all seven. Therefore, none of the readings influence each other within the survey.

1. Buzz

2. General impression

3. Quality

4. Value

5. Satisfaction

6. Recommend

7. Corporate reputation

In addition, we supply an index score.


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