Tetley Tea is reviewing its pounds 5 million advertising account
held by D'Arcy in a move that could signal the end of its iconic
frontmen, the Tetley Teafolk.
The move brings D'Arcy's hold on the Tetley account under threat after a
tenure of more than 20 years. The agency picked up the business as
D'Arcy-MacManus Masius in 1979, spearheading campaigns that introduced
the teabag to the British public and unseated PG Tips from its position
as market leader.
The review, which will be conducted through Agency Assessments
International, will be overseen by Tetley GB's marketing director, Nigel
Holland. He confirmed that the shake-up would not include the media
planning and buying account held by MediaVest.
"This doesn't reflect on the excellent work done by D'Arcy to date," he
added. "It will be part of the review process."
Tetley's management has called for a drastic change in the company's
brand strategy as the tea market in the UK comes under increasing
pressure both from fashionable coffee brands and from the expanding
chocolate and malted drinks sector.
Competition for Tetley's UK market leader status has also picked up in
recent years, with PG reintroducing its famous chimps campaign by BMP
DDB and Typhoo launching its "two thumbs fresh" ads through Mother last
Tetley management is said to be undecided on the future of the Teafolk
cartoon characters, which have promoted the company's teabags since
However, agencies briefed by the company have been left with the option
of filtering out Gaffer, Sidney, Maurice and company from the brand's
The review follows the pounds 271 million acquisition of Tetley by the
Indian company Tata Tea last year. Tetley's strong brand positioning in
the UK was reported at the time to be a major attraction for Tata, which
said it had confidence in the company's existing management and
The deal established Tata-Tetley as the world's second- largest tea