I was standing in front of a big selection of green tea. I picked up a box of Pickwick and thought “Oh yeah, these have those cute little questions, those are always fun.” and tossed it in my basket. Then I realised it - I have fallen victim to their marketing.
I wondered how the marketing campaign started.
According to a press release from 2015, Pickwick announced this temporary campaign, named ‘Take a moment’ (in Dutch ‘neem de tijd’) would start in September. Their idea was to encourage and celebrate the ‘tea moment’.
“Pickwick cherishes these conversations and wanted to find a way to encourage them. ‘How was your day’? Is very often the starting point of one of these conversations, but there are so many more questions that can stimulate a good conversation during a tea moment. For this campaign we printed 99 million labels. 99 million chances to have an unexpected conversation.”
-Ellen van der Linde van Pickwick, Marketing Manager Tea
6 years later, and this temporary campaign is still going strong.
In September 2015, Pickwick launched a series of short commercials. These were humorous, featuring a setting in which a light hearted tea topic question was posed. Fun, simple.
Then in October 2016, the campaign took a more serious turn as Pickwick took on more political and societal issues, featuring 3 personal stories from real people. Key - the commercials became stories. These caused an emotional reaction, the viewer was touched. News outlets promptly picked this up, sparking debates on bullying, and the campaign gained a lot of attention.
In 2017 nederlandsmedianieuws.nl and de.nl reported that that since the start of the campaign 14,000 people have made use of the personal tea topic label service via www.teatopic.nl. There were 907 “I love you” ‘s printed, and 212 ‘Will you marry me” ‘s (note - I can’t seem to identify whether this was an actual tea topic label or a digital version, but nevertheless, brand engagement was successful).
Also in 2017, the agency behind this campaign, TBWA\NEBOKO, was nominated for a (well deserved) ADCN award - ADVERTISING BRANDED CONTENT & ENTERTAINMENT.
In 2018 the personal direction continues. The last commercial featured Tarek, a Syrian refugee, asking a local Dutch football team if he can join the group. Pickwick made a longer commercial of 4 minutes (an edited version for tv).In November 2018 Pickwick shared on Facebook that their tea topic documentary on Tarek’s question was nominated for a Gouden Loekie award.
Surprisingly, at this moment there is no mention of the tea topics on the actual box, but the campaign has further branched out into a pretty wide range of online marketing activities (digital tea topic label, tea topic filter on Instagram, a tea topic podcast) further nestling this campaign into the Pickwick brand.
In april of 2020, during the first Corona crisis lockdown, the tea topics jumped in the spotlight again creating an entertaining stir on social media:
The concept of this campaign is simple. It reminds me of the Bazooka Joe cartoons from the 1950’s, or the Snapple bottle cap facts from 2003. What’s impressive is how it has evolved.
The campaign evolved itself into a (dare I say) permanent component of their marketing strategy. Pickwick could have remained on the track it started on, but as well as it being lighthearted - they managed to trigger emotion so successfully, that they gave a tea bag label the right to present not just a text, but a message.
I don’t think I’ll be announcing a pregnancy on their tea label (ok, on second thought maybe I would) but I certainly enjoy the random questions I end up asking myself and how they indeed can lead to an interesting conversation...
and touching content like this, check it out! https://www.pickwick.nl/teatopics/verhalen/