After Hindu-Muslim Neighbor Ad, Red Label Tea Touches Upon Live-in Relationships In New Ad

A look at the TVCs by Red Label tea where the brand acts as a catalyst in melting differences between communities or beliefs, and how people are responding to it

Red Label 2015 ad

Tea has been a welcome drink in many cultures the world over. A cup of tea is both an ice breaker and one that induces intense discussions among old timers. The roadside tapri or the posh tea parlour, one can never go wrong with tea around them. That’s why they say where there’s tea, there’s hope and that belief has been extended onto many a brand communication by tea makers.

Brooke Bond Red Label, one of the major tea brands by Hindustan Unilever has always been brewing togetherness among families and diverse communities in its brand communication. The brand proposition being “Swad Apnepan Ka” or the “Taste of Togetherness”. The idea being tea melts away differences.

Its 2014 ad created quite a stir when it portrayed a reluctant Hindu family turning into good friends with their Muslim neighbour, over a few cups of Red Label tea. The ad was both appreciated for its subtle preaching on the religious divide in the country as well as slammed for showcasing Hindus as intolerant and unwelcoming towards Muslims.

This time the brand has touched upon a taboo subject like ‘live-in relationships’ stirring up the generation divide and quite a few thoughts on the status of the daughter-in-law or the would be daughter-in-law.

Conceptualised by Ogilvy & Mather, the minute-long film titled ‘Surprise Visit’ begins with a guy being paid a surprise visit by his parents, but the surprise is on them instead.

Right when (like a typical Indian mother) she pulls his cheeks and expresses concern over his frail frame and resolves to find a girl for him, she is met with his live-in girlfriend. Taken aback, the mother turns pale, while her son introduces his girlfriend to his parents and offers them to have a seat. Eager to impress the mother, the girl is quick in offering her a seat, and excuses herself to make some tea.

Later, the mother objects when a cup is offered to the father as he suffers from diabetes, but is pleasantly surprised when the girl informs that the tea is sugarless. Her cheeks slowly regain colour and she is even more impressed that her tea has cardamom just the way she likes it. Appreciating the efforts and the tea, she gives an indirect nod to her son. The voice over goes, “Swad Apnepan Ka” in line with the brand promise.

While Red Label has been engaged in its promotions around the movie, Piku on its social media channels, it has also managed to share the new ad. The subject this time is a mellow one in comparison to the 2014 Hindu-Muslim ad. Here are a few tweets expressing mixed responses on the latest one:

Advertising for a tea brand is just not about the sheer aroma of the roasted tea leaves anymore. HUL, with its longstanding mission to bring about social change via each of its sub-brands, does manage to strike a chord with the young generation as well as the generation before, while maintaining brand voice intact.

The tea here acts as the perfect catalyst bridging together two generations of different beliefs and virtues. Touching upon a taboo topic like ‘Live-in relationships’ is another bold move by Red Label, and a clever one to reach out to the youth.