Russia, China first to sip Ceylon Tea’s global promotion in Oct.

The Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) is tipped to launch its much-talked about Rs.4 billion global promotion campaign by mid-October this year kicking off in Russia and China.

Phoenix Ogilvy has been appointed to handle the creative aspect based on the initial tender awarded to them and Dentsu Grants would be working on media scheduling and media buying, SLTB Director General Anura Siriwardena told the Business Times.

He noted that Dentsu Grants is tasked with analysing the market in detail and work on the target audience and suggest the appropriate media mix to be accessed to market the product via digital, TV, radio, print or anything else that could be used to reach out efficiently and economically.

Mr. Siriwardena explained that the objective in carrying out the campaign was threefold; one is to create awareness about the Ceylon Tea brand; secondly to build a relationship between the lion logo and Ceylon Tea; and thirdly to develop Ceylon Tea and Sri Lanka as most people were unaware of its origins.

He pointed out that the industry was keen on maintaining the name of Ceylon Tea as the country changed its name in 1972 to Sri Lanka.

Following this change, most of the younger generations in these markets were unaware of the origins of Ceylon Tea as a result of which they were compelled to promote this brand name.

Moreover, the Director General noted that due to the brand’s reputation in the tea industry it was widely used by other companies internationally due to which reason they needed to create awareness of the link between the original Ceylon Tea and the lion logo used to market the product.

In addition the fact that it is packed in Sri Lanka is also of importance that would then help differentiate this authentic Ceylon Tea product from bogus ones marketed outside Sri Lanka, Mr. Siriwardena said.

Currently the advertising and marketing agencies involved in the campaign were working on the plan of how to market the product that has been given an investment of Rs.4 billion.

During the first week of July cabinet approval is likely to be sought for the campaign, it was pointed out.

The tea global promotion campaign is set to be carried out in 12 markets namely Russia, China, the US, Turkey, Japan, Australia, Germany, Iran, UAE, Saudi Arabia, UK and India.

Initially this would be kicked off in Russia and China as the former is considered to be Sri Lanka’s third largest importer of Ceylon Tea and the latter a growing market.

Russia last year purchased 33.3 million kg of tea worth US$170 million.

This campaign is relevant in this market due to the fact that there has been a notable decline in its growth pattern of about four per cent in terms of volume, SLTB Director Promotion Premila Srikantha told the Business Times on Wednesday.

She explained that due to the economic sanctions placed on Russia, consumer buying power has reduced as a result of which there is less demand for quality teas.

China on the other hand although the eighth largest importer of Ceylon Tea having purchased 9.9 million kg worth US$47 million is a growing market for Sri Lanka that has increased its growth by 28 per cent since 2016, Ms. Srikantha said.

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