31Case Study© 2009 IBS CDC. All Rights Reserved.

Tata Tea’s Jaago Re! Campaign: The Social-Cause Marketing Initiatives

and Long-Term Branding Initiatives

* Research Associate, IBS CDC, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. E-mail: [email protected]

* * Team leader, IBS CDC, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. E-mail: [email protected]

We had taken the route of ‘social awakening’ to drive home the benefits of our brands – for the first time. And it had worked well for us.1

– Sangeeta Talwar, Executive Director (Marketing), Tata Tea Ltd.

I do believe Tata Tea must lapse into its standard format of advertising once again and must not get carried away by it all too much. It has done an excellent job with Jaago Re! But the company must move on. Remember, the number of customers who sit at the self-actualization level in India are a nano percentage of the total market. Time to move on. Move on with campaigns that will sell more and more tea once again. The memory of Jaago Re! will be there as a good and positive stroke for a brand right through.2

– Harish Bijoor, CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.

Election ke din, agar aap vote nahin kar rahe ho, to aap so rahe ho (If you are not castingyour vote on election day, you are sleeping) – this message instantly connected withthe people and pulled 618,157 of them towards site to register their votes. Although, launched during the Indian general elections 2009, this campaign was not an initiative of any political party, but that of a corporate house. In 2007, Tata Tea Ltd. (Tata Tea), one of the world’s leading companies in branded tea sector, launched Jaago Re! initiative as a part of its Cause-Related Marketing (CRM) (also referred to as Social-Cause Marketing (SCM)) program and focused on many social issues through this campaign.

Tata Tea, with Jaago Re! campaign, intends to promote its tea as a social-awakener and thereby improve its mind-share among the consumers. Earlier, Tata Tea promoted the physical and functional propositions of the brand in its ads. But the stiff competition from its nearest rival Hindustan Unilever Limited’s (HUL) tea brands and other unorganized

R Naga Sandhya* and P Girija**

Case Study

1 Srinivasan Lalitha (2008), “Tata, HUL Battle for Branded Tea Mkt Leadership”, available at http:// www.financialexpress. hulbattle-for-branded-tea-mkt-leadership/313777/, May 24.

2 Interview conducted with Harish Bijoor by R Naga Sandhya and P Girija, IBS CDC, May 20, 2009.

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players compelled the brand to emerge with innovative ways of connecting with people. In June 2007, as the brand became the largest tea vendor (in terms of volume share) in the world, it elevated its communication efforts to the self-actualization level through the Jaago Re! campaign. Hence, the question arises—will it make sense for Tata Tea to go beyond the conventional advertising format and embrace social issues in its marketing communications? and in that case, at which stage of the brand life cycle should the company go for CRM?

Brands, Brand Life Cycles and Cause-Related Marketing Initiatives Evolution of Cause-Related Marketing: Role of Global Brands

In 1886, France gifted a statue to the US, celebrating the centennial of the friendship that was established between the two countries during American Revolution. Known popularly as ‘Liberty Enlightening the World’ (Statue of Liberty), it became a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. However, the monument started suffering from the ravages of time and depicted signs of decay. In 1983, American Express, a US-based financial services company, initiated a campaign for raising money to restore the Statue of Liberty. It stated that whenever the American Express charge card3 was used by its holder, 1¢4 would go to the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, a non-profit organization formed for restoring and preserving the monument.

As a result, American Express managed to generate $1.7 million5 for the restoration process. At the same time, the company, which was growing as a global conglomerate, also benefited from the campaign. The number of American Express card holders increased by 45% and the card usage raised by 28%.6 Termed as CRM by American Express, this became a popular corporate practice, with many other companies following suit. Be it the campaign for HIV prevention efforts, cancer awareness and public health, support for vulnerable and distressed children, advocacy issues, humanitarian aid, etc., many global brands took up these causes and woven these themes into their marketing campaigns.

One of the reasons for the emergence of CRM was the introduction of neo-liberal policies of the US government. In the 1980s, neo-liberalism, whose central principle was free markets and free trade, became popular in the US. The governments that endorsed neo-liberal economic policies provided favorable conditions for market capitalists through tax concessions and incentives that curtailed social welfare programs (in turn, the downsizing of social programs was mainly caused due to tax reductions). But, this did not help the private sector prosper as expected. As a result, neo-liberal policies further compounded social problems and widened the existing gap between the rich and the poor.

3 A kind of plastic card used for payments at the time of purchase. 4 “ What is Cause -Re lated Marketing?”, available at

cause_marketing.html 5 “Statue of Liberty Facts”, 6 “What is Cause-Related Marketing?”, op. cit.

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Both government and not-for-profit organizations (non-profits) could not deal with the growing social problems. In this context, Inger L Stole, Associate Professor of Consumer Communication, Illinois University, US, said, “Due to decades of pressure, scrutiny and budget cuts, the public sector is seriously depleted and it is often unable to accommodate the needs of workers and others who find themselves without a safety net. Neither are the non-profits in a position to fill the void left by the failure of the economy to generate such extraordinary growth that the market would lessen or eliminate social problems.”7 At this point, corporates alternatively emerged with cause-related programs, more as their contribution to alleviating some (if not all) of the social perils.

Along with neo-liberal policies, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) also played an important role in the growth of CRM. Over the years, CSR gained momentum among the global corporates due to the growing threats from governments and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Since companies use resources from the society and environment, they need to be accountable and responsible towards them. Failing to do so, companies came under the scrutiny of government and NGOs who wanted them to be socially responsible and transparent in their reporting. As the need for corporate transparency and CSR with triple bottom line reporting grew among corporates, they began to review the corporate agenda and marketing strategies. During this time, companies considered CRM as one of the marketing tools that can make their values and CSR visible to consumers.

CRM gradually turned into a marketing communications activity for communicating CSR to stakeholders and target consumers. However, a few analysts draw a line between CSR and CRM. Christina SiunO’Connell, Communication Consultant at CSR Wire (an exclusive news service), opined, “Cause branding refers to a short-term strategy, usually advertisements connecting a social or environmental issue with a company’s brand. CSR communication, on the other hand, is the process of informing stakeholders of a company’s commitment to ongoing CSR.”8 Nevertheless, CRM became an element of CSR.

On the other hand, companies also took up CRM initiatives because of the shortcomings of conventional marketing tools. As media channels multiplied, excess information provided about the brands confused the consumers, and they in turn failed to create a space in the consumer’s mind. Therefore, companies began to align marketing initiatives with a social cause, to stand out in the clutter. In the process, they began partnering with non-profits to promote their products or services, and at the same time raise funds for non-profits. Unlike corporate philanthropy or altruism, in CRM, the alliance is for mutual benefit. On the one side, it helps non-profits in raising funds and diversifying their funding base, and on the other, it enables big brands in building brand image, customer loyalty, increased sales and brand visibility.

7 Stole Inger L (2008), “Philanthropy as Public Relations: A Critical Perspective on Cause Marketing”, available at

8 O’Connell Christina Siun (2004), “Corporate Responsibility is More Than Cause-Related Marketing”, available at, August 1.

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By the 1990s, the brands—which earlier stressed on external attributes of a product— began emphasizing on values and promoted themselves as ethical marketers to gain goodwill. Brands built their marketing programs around values like compassion, courtesy, integrity, etc. Marjorie Thompson, Director of Saatchi and Saatchi Cause Connection,9

opined, “In the 1960s, the whole premise of advertising was rational and logical, appealing to the mind. Now in the 1990s, there is an emphasis on the ethical—what is right, how can I do good?”10

Several companies took up various social causes and campaigned for them. While some companies took up national issues, a few others took up regional/local issues (Exhibit 1).

Exhibit 1: Examples of Global Brands That Embraced CRM

Dollar-Rent-A-Car In 1993, Dollar-Rent-A-Car joined forces with the Special Olympics, donating $1 to the non-profit for every car booked during the 6-week campaign. Bookings by travel agents increased 25% during the promotion.

McDonald’s In 1994, McDonald’s sold a CD featuring Garth Brooks, Elton John and Tina Turner to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. In addition to raising $9 million for the cause, the promotion increased restaurant sales by 5%.

Coca-Cola In 1997, Coca-Cola donated 15¢ to Mothers Against Drunk Driving for every case of Coca-Cola bought during a 6-week promotion in more than 400 Wal- Mart stores. Coke sales in these stores increased 490% during the promotion.

Briggs and Stratton In 2002, Briggs and Stratton worked with the National Wildlife Federation to educate the public on the importance of lawn mower maintenance in cutting pollution emissions. After sponsoring a website,, that included information on lawn mower tune-ups, tips for reducing pollution and energy inefficiency, and educational information, the company saw a tripling of tune-up kit sales.

TUMS In 2003, through its ‘TUMS Helps Put Out More Fires Than You Think’ campaign, TUMS pledged to donate 10¢ to the First Responder Institute for every bottle of TUMS sold. In addition to donating $238,000 to the institute, which in turn funded 60 fire departments throughout the US, TUMS saw a 30% increase in the number of displays shipped to stores and a 16% increase in sales volume.

Source: “Proving that Cause Marketing is a Win-Win”, available at

9 A unit of Saatchi & Saatchi’s advertising agency that deals with CRM. 10 Cook Richard (1998), “Cause Related Marketing: The Name of the Game is all in a Good Cause”, available at -game-is-all-in-a- good-cause-1160321.html, May 11.

11 This article was written by Douglas B Holt (L’Oréal Professor of Marketing at the Said Business School of Oxford University in England), John A Quelch (Lincoln Filene Professor at Harvard Business School) and Earl L Taylor (chief marketing officer of the Marketing Science Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts). In 2002, they carried out research on how consumers in different countries value global brands, in association with US-based research firm, Research International.

Studies reveal that consumers are more inclined towards those multinationals that address social issues linked to products (or services) and business operations. The authors of article, How Consumers Value Global Brands11, opined, “As in famous cases have filled the

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airwaves—Nestlé’s infant formula sales in Africa since the 1980s, Union Carbide’s Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984, the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989, the outcry over Shell’s plan to sink its Brent Spar oil rig and the protests at its Nigerian facilities in 1995—people have become convinced that global brands have a special duty to tackle social issues.”12 Their research validated that social responsibility is one among the three characteristics— quality signal, global myth and social responsibility—that influence consumers’ purchasing decision when it comes to global brands. Companies, especially MNCs with their global brands, saw merit in aligning their business campaigns with social campaigns.

For instance, ALDO, a footwear company, participates in community development programs through cause marketing. The company exclaims, “ALDO places a premium on being a good corporate citizen by working to enrich the communities in which we live and work. It is not uncommon for ALDO or its employees to participate in fundraisers or to volunteer their time to community causes. ALDO is a brand with a conscience, a brand that cares. We actively support the fight against AIDS. Giving back to our communities is a necessary and fundamental part of the work we do everyday.”13 Since 1985, the company has involved itself in fighting against AIDS. In 2005, it launched ALDO. As part of its AIDS campaign (Annexure 1), it designed a series of ads by featuring celebrities like actress Charlize Theron, singers Ziggy Marley and Wynonna Judd, etc. However, none of the ads highlighted the products of the brand, but only communicated about the dreadful disease and raised funds worth $3.5 mn14 for Youth AIDS.15

As part of its advertising campaign, ALDO sold empowerment tags16 in retail stores and online for $5, with the entire sales amount from tags going to Youth AIDS. This ad campaign also helped the company boost its sales among young consumers and increase its brand visibility. According to Robert Hoppenheim, ALDO’s General Manager of branding and strategic development, “foot traffic into ALDO stores increased by double digits and same-store sales increased by far more than the industry average”.17

Although, CRM programs are helping companies to increase their revenues, they are often considered as short-term promotional programs. Alliance is made for a short span, resulting in temporary sales boost and customer commitment. In short-term tie-ups, if brands fail to logically align the cause with their business, the cause-related initiatives would stand out as examples for failed attempts. For instance, if a company producing

12 Holt B Douglas et al. (2004), “How Consumers Value Global Brands”, available at 4377.html, September 20.

13 “Aldo Culture”, available at 14 Sharn Lori, “Using Emotion to make Strides with Young Consumers”, available at

trends_details.php?id=103 15 AIDS Education and Prevention Program of Population Services International, a not-for-profit organization. 16 Necklace with two small, ‘dog tag’- like metal plates, one incised with one of the words—hear, see or speak and

the other with the AIDS ribbon symbol. 17 “Using Emotion to make Strides with Young Consumers”, op. cit.

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tobacco products partners with a non-governmental organization and campaigns for cancer awareness, the fit between brand and cause would be less effective and could even result in negative reactions from the consumers. Therefore, companies ensured that the link between cause and their business enhances their image rather than degrading it.

In order to reap the benefits of CRM, companies tried to align their corporate values with social cause. For example, Avon, a US-based seller of beauty products, committed itself to fight against breast cancer by raising funds and educating about the disease since 1992. Although a long-term brand building strategy, Avon very well embraced the cause with its core business. However, the probability of success for a brand aligning its marketing activities with good cause is high among the established and trusted brands. Brands attempting to elevate their communication process and create an impact on consumers can enjoy success after gaining strong consumer awareness and acceptance.

Harish Bhat, Chief Operating Officer, and Suparna Mitra, Head of global marketing team of Titan Industries, opine, “Brand breakouts have a higher probability of success when the parent brand enjoys high awareness and trust, and is well-positioned on its core and existing dimension. Only then are consumers normally receptive to a fresh new dimension being adopted by the brand. If your brand is yet to strongly prove itself on at least one core dimension, do not attempt a breakout, it is unlikely to work.”18

On the contrary, there are a few companies which attempted CRM at an early stage. Mecca-Cola, a Dubai-based soft drink brand, announced during the product launch stage that 10% of the profit on every bottle of Mecca-Cola would go to Palestinian children’s fund and 10% to European NGOs. As a result, within two months of the launch, two million Mecca-Cola bottles were sold and the brand received future orders for 16 million19

bottles. This success makes evident that cause marketing efforts can even be taken up at an introductory stage when the brand is launched. But Mecca-Cola was primarily launched to promote anti-American sentiment and to satisfy the Muslim needs (who were boycotting American products because of its Middle East policies). It was developed to give a tough competition to US-based beverage brand Coca-Cola. In the words of Tawfik Mathlouthi, the founder of Mecca-Cola, “It is all about combating America’s imperialism and Zionism by providing a substitute for American goods and increasing the blockade of countries boycotting American goods.”20

Many leading global corporations nonetheless embraced socially relevant causes into their marketing programs to promote their brands. SCM initiatives proved successful to both marketers and fundraisers, globally. Though CRM is common abroad, in India, it is still not widespread. However, this trend has begun catching up in India too.

18 Bhat Harish and Mitra Suparna (2009), “Break-Out Brands”, available at catalyst/2009/04/30/stories/2009043050020100.htm, April 30.

19 Murphy Verity (2003), “Mecca Cola Challenges US Rival”, available at 2640259.stm, January 8.

20 Ibid.

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CRM in India: Role of Indian Brands Ever since globalization, Indian brands have been introduced to a number of new business practices that were pioneered by successful international companies and brands. To compete at the international front, they began to embrace new business methods developed by the global business world. The Indian companies, although not new to these concepts, are new to the names. For instance, the concept of CSR has existed in India for decades even before it became an accepted and sought-after business lexicon. Indian companies like Tata Group and Aditya Birla Group whose roots trace back to the 19th

century have been into philanthropic activities since their inception. For example, in 1892, Jamshedji Tata set up JN Tata Endowment to promote higher studies in India.

The need for a responsible way of doing business was stressed upon long ago by the late Prime Minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri. In 1965, addressing a meeting, he said, “...[Business has] responsibility to itself, to its customers, workers, shareholders and the community... every enterprise, no matter how large or small, must, if it is to enjoy confidence and respect, seek actively to discharge its responsibilities in all directions ... and not to one or two groups, such as shareholders or workers, at the expense of community and consumer. Business must be just and humane, as well as efficient and dynamic.”21

Not until the foray of foreign Multinational Companies (MNCs), Indian companies hardly realized the seriousness of the impact of CSR in the growth of their businesses. MNCs set a benchmark through their socially-responsible business practices and built global brands. To compete with these MNCs, the Indian companies began seeking better ways of doing ethical business and strived to elevate their quality standards as well as brand image. In the process, corporate India aligned their businesses with social causes by embracing CRM.

Since the 1990s, CRM programs began to gain attention of the Indian corporates (both subsidiaries of MNCs and India-based companies), which transformed and propagandized their image by adding a new lateral dimension—socially-responsible. Brands like HUL, Procter & Gamble (P&G), Novartis India Ltd., Oberoi Hotels, Tata, etc., are a few who initiated CSR activities confusing it for CRM programs in India (Exhibit 2). Later, realizing the distinction between CSR and CRM, companies took a new approach. In 2002, HUL, to promote its soap brand, Lifebuoy, initiated a rural health education program through Lifebuoy Swasthya Chetna. This was a long-term brand building strategy with the objective of bringing awareness on hygiene standards among rural people. This initiative reached 80 million people in 30,000 villages22 across India and believed to have contributed 20% sales growth23 in 2003-2004. In fact, with this initiative, HUL aimed to

21 “Disaster Risk Management and The Role of Corporate Sector – The Indian Perspective”, available at http://

22 Srinivasan Lalitha (2008), “The New Soap Opera”, available at soap-opera/262272/3, January 17.

23 “Fighting Disease Clean-Handed” (2005), available at

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increase its market size and market share for Lifebuoy soap, by targeting a new set of consumers. It set to bring behavioral change among rural Indians by promoting the benefits of soap (in terms of healthcare) and thereby creating a new customer base.

Similarly, Procter & Gamble (P&G), to promote its brands and boost their sales, partnered with Child Relief and You (CRY) (an NGO for children’s rights) and Sony television, and started a program Shiksha, to educate the underprivileged children. This initiative was part of ‘P&G Live, Learn & Thrive’ global CRM program to support the economically deprived children. As part of Shiksha, whenever selected P&G brands were purchased (such as Tide, Ariel, Pantene, Head and Shoulders, Rejoice, Vicks or Pampers), during the months of April, May and June of a year, the customer can support one day’s education of one child. However, the company, irrespective of sales, committed a minimum contribution of 1 cr to CRY in 2005, the initial year of launching the program. Since 2005, P&G continued its support to the program and even increased its contribution to the NGO, irrespective of sales. P&G also increased the portfolio of products associated with this program.

More Indian companies were trying to build their brands through CRM initiatives. Among them, Tata also initiated CRM programs for its tea brand, Tata Tea, to increase its customer base among different regions and segments.

Tata Tea’s Jaago Re! Campaign: The Payoffs Tata Tea: Building a Brand Tata Tea Ltd. draws its origins from the UK-based James Finlay and Company (James Finlay), which played a vital role in the development of tea industry in India in

Exhibit 2: Examples of Global Brands That Embraced CRM in India

1. Oberoi Hotels: had specially designed and printed envelopes placed in all Oberoi properties where in the guest could contribute to CRY, a NGO and collected more than 6.50 lakh in 18 months. CRY is an NGO whose role is that of an enabler, a catalyst between two groups of people (a) development organization and individuals working at grass root level with marginalized children, their families and (b) communities and people from all walks of life who believe in the rights of children.

2. Novartis India Ltd.: a pharmaceutical company in a CRM scheme donated 2% or value of sales of Ovaltline Plus towards CRY’S Gujarat rehabilitation operations. Total amount raised was approximately 40,000.

3. HLL (now HUL): announced 5 contribution to SOS Children’s Village, worlds largest charitable organization, working for educating every little heart by inserting coupons in its Brooke Bond Taj Mahal tea powder packs. The customer has to tell the coupon number to the company through a toll free telephone number.

4. P&G: In India, ‘Whisper’, a brand in the sanitary nappies market where the materialistic difference is minimal announced a contribution of 1 on every pack of its sales for blind relief society. It helped to improve market share for ‘Whisper’.

Source: Garg Bhavet (2007), “Cause Related Marketing and Its Impact on Corporate Brand Image and Sales”, available at, April

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the second half of the 19th century. In 1964, Tata Group entered into a joint venture with James Finlay to form Tata Finlay with the aim of manufacturing and distributing value-added tea in India. In 1976, Tata Finlay took over the production and marketing operations of James Finlay and in 1983, it took over entire ownership. The new company was named Tata Tea.

Soon after gaining a separate identity, Tata Tea felt the need to stand out in the Indian packaged tea segment in order to sustain its growth. During this period, Tata Tea was facing severe competition from several unorganized (regional and local players) and organized players (Brooke Bond and Lipton, which were HUL brands) of the Indian tea market. Brooke Bond and Lipton held 80% of the market share while Tata Tea’s share was only 3%.24 As a result, the company chalked out a strategy, to stand out in the crowd.

Tata Tea initiated efforts for building a strong brand image to distinguish itself from the players. For this, the company’s communication and advertising efforts were directed towards emphasizing on its core abilities. Tata Tea, grows tea plants (unlike other players), processes and packages tea and sells it directly to the consumers. Therefore, through its ads, the company projected the way it controls the entire value chain to create value for the customers (The ads show Tata Tea’s plantations, the processing of its tea made out of freshly plucked garden-fresh leaves. It also focuses on packaging that retains the aroma and ensures taste). These ads were meant to highlight various physical properties of tea like quality, taste, freshness and purity and also how these properties are delivered to the customers intact. Even though Tata Tea focused on its marketing strategies for brand identity, it also made inorganic growth as its key strategy for building a strong brand image (Exhibit 3).

Tata Tea started to expand its manufacturing activity in India and Sri Lanka (Exhibit 3) and even established its subsidiaries in countries like the US and UK. However,

24 Agrawal Sujata (2004), “Stirring up a Strong Brew”, available at inside.aspx?artid=6NVaexqbyp Y=, October.

Exhibit 3: Tata Tea’s Growth

1964 Tata Finlay established to develop value added Tea.

1976 Tata Finlay takes over tea production and marketing operations of James Finlay.

1983 James Finlay sell their shareholdings to Tatas heralding the ‘Dawn of a New Era’—Tata Tea is born.

1987 A wholly-owned subsidiary, Tata Tea Inc., set up in the US.

1991 Acquisition of 52.5% shareholding in Consolidated Coffee Ltd. (Tata Coffee Ltd.)

1992 Joint venture in Sri Lanka, Estate Management Services (P) Ltd., formed.

1993 Joint venture alliance with Allied Lyons Plc. – Tata Tetley established.

1996 Sri Lankan JVC acquires 51% shareholding in Watawala Plantations Ltd.

2000 Tata Tea acquires The Tetley Group Ltd., UK.

Source: “Tata Tea – Historical Milestones”,

Year Tata Tea’s Growth Activity

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