Frank to lead Tetley revival

Tetley has turned to Frank PR as it plots a major marketing drive that will see the brand's animated 'tea folk' back on TV screens after a nine-year absence.

The Tata-owned tea maker has selected Frank following a competitive pitch last month. The consumer agency has been briefed to handle media strategy as Tetley embarks on a high-profile ad campaign featuring Gaffer, Sydney, Archie and Clarence.

The animated characters were the mainstay of Tetley's advertising in the 1980s and 1990s. Since 2001, however, the brand has centred its marketing message on the health credentials of tea.

Frank, which has landed the retained business, will seek to generate national press coverage around the return of the tea folk.

MD Frankie Cory, who is leading the account, confirmed there were 'a few big campaigns on the way' for Tetley, but declined to comment further.

Nielsen figures show that Tetley, once the biggest tea brand in the UK, now trails PG Tips. Tetley's sales for the year to October 2009 were £114m, compared with PG Tips' £137m.

The marketing revival will be overseen by Tetley's UK president Nigel Holland.

A teaser campaign is set to appear in the next fortnight, followed by a 'nostalgic, emotional, tearjerker of a TV ad', according to sources. The ad campaign has been created by MCBD.

Meanwhile, the Australian owner of Frank is attempting to raise capital and restructure the business to ensure its survival.

Photon Group, which also owns Hotwire, has made A$90m in write-downs related to its online businesses and a A$14m earnings downgrade. Photon will also try to renegotiate earn-out payments with the founders of agencies it has bought on a rapid acquisition spree. The company said these earn-outs were proving more expensive than it had forecast.

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