British women urged to drink more tea

The Tea Council is urging British women to drink more cups of tea after it was found consumption of the beverage among 25 to 34-year-old women had halved since the 1970s, to just two cups a day.

Campaign Tea4health
Client The Tea Council
PR team Nexus Communications
Timescale January-December 2005
Budget £500,000

Last year the Tea Council was worried - consumption of the beverage among 25 to 34-year-old women had halved since the 1970s to only two cups a day. A rise in the popularity of coffee-drinking, and higher awareness of the health benefits of consuming large quantities of water, were hitting tea sales.

However, research by public health nutritionist Dr Carrie Ruxton found that consumption of at least three cups of tea a day could cut the chances of a heart attack by 11 per cent.

Retained agency Nexus Communications devised a ‘Tea4health' campaign to publicise the benefits of tea.

To reverse the decline in tea sales among young people, and specifically communicate the health benefits of tea to young women.

Strategy and Plan
Tea4health was launched with a press event at the Royal Society of Medicine, where experts in antioxidants, caffeine, hydration and dentistry presented the  health benefits of tea to representatives of national media, women's magazines and health correspondents, among others. Following this, Tea4health leaflets were produced to reach consumers directly at doctors' surgeries. Some 250,000 leaflets were distributed to 6,000 surgeries, while 700,000 were placed in women's lockers in Fitness First gyms nationwide.

To reach commuters, 150,000 branded Tea4health cups, and 500,000 sandwich bags, were distributed in outlets throughout central London. More creative elements of the campaign included the ‘tea boy', whereby Nexus ran radio competitions for office workers to win the use of a tea boy for an afternoon. It also developed a ‘Spin the Pot' online game, through which office workers could determine whose turn it was to make the tea.

Measurement and Evaluation
The campaign resulted in 75 items of coverage, including in the Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, The Times and the Daily Express. Consumer magazine interest included Time Out, Woman's Own and Hello!.

Regional reach was achieved via London's Evening Standard and The Scotsman. Meanwhile, throughout 2005 there were 42 radio interviews on the subject of tea and health, as well as 21 tea-boy competitions - including one on Johnny Vaughan's Capital breakfast show.

Online the campaign was mentioned on iVillage and recipe site Agalinks, plus Guardian Unlimited and

In research, the number of people agreeing with the statement ‘tea contains antioxidants' increased by nine per cent after the campaign. The number of women aged 25 to 34 agreeing that ‘tea counts as part of recommended fluid intake' increased by 21 per cent.

The 2005 National Drinks Survey, carried out by TNS, showed that tea consumption among 20 to 34-year-olds had increased for the first time in three years. Two thirds of Britons now drink tea on a regular basis.

Amanda Ursell is a nutritionist who writes for several publications, including Woman's Own. She attended the Tea4health press event: ‘I'd written big pieces on tea before, but this was useful because I was able to use the information in columns about antioxidants. The best thing was the scientists, so you weren't relying on unsubstantiated information in a press release.'

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