Typhoo Tea is ignoring criticism from the Broadcasting Standards Commission, which upheld complaints that its 'two thumbs fresh' campaign perpetuates racial stereotypes, and is using the theme on its website, two-thumbsfresh.com.
John Luck, the senior brand manager at Typhoo's parent Premier Foods, defended the campaign, which stars Tommy Singh and the tea pickers of an Indian plantation. He said: 'The reason the BSC's ruling is not affecting the way we roll out the campaign is because we did extensive research before going ahead with it. We would not run the risk of running a racist ad.'
The television campaign, developed by Mother, will continue next year.
The website, built by Zebra Communications, features Tommy Singh and includes games and activities. It is designed to widen the brand's appeal to a younger audience, aged 15- to 34-years-old, without alienating its existing core market of over-45s.
Luck explained that the site - which includes a Pac Man-style game featuring Singh chasing tea leaves - aimed to present tea in a modern and fun way.
'We're trying to 'down age' tea consumption,' he explained.
Mark Waites, a senior creative at Mother, said: 'We're always looking for entertaining ways to explore brands and the net is the perfect medium to take the character of Tommy Singh beyond conventional media.'
The TV campaign initially provoked complaints to the Independent Television Commission, which were not upheld. Mother had consulted with the BACC and members of the Asian community before using the idea.
The BSC does not have the power to ban ads. Instead, it publicises an advertiser's transgressions, with the aim of forcing a retrenchment.