Teapigs – Clever Marketing By Tetley Tea

I had always wondered how Teapigs came from nowhere and were able to create a fabulous range of tea using really expensive Fuso tea bagging kit etc etc.

Well, I was looking at their accounts as I am always nosey and like to see how well people are doing and low and behold, Teapigs Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tetley Tea and so Tata Tea (India’s biggest tea company) and not the little wholesome start-up that I thought they were.  So that’s how they can rack up losses of £200,000 a year.  So that’s what they mean when they say they met at a “a really big tea company“, which apparently was in their marketing department, so I have discovered later.  Very clever marketing gimmick then and hats off to Tetleys, you had me fooled!  But Steenbergs won’t ever be able to compete with their marketing budget even if our gunpowder tea tastes way nicer.

It reminds me of Seeds of Change that cleverly hardly tells you that they are part of Mars, Inc, but imply in their marketing that they grew out of being a small hippy seeds business in Santa Fe, whereas they are really part of one of the world’s largest food groups.  They do currently have on their web site that the trademarks are owned by Mars, but they used to hide better.

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17 Responses to “Teapigs – Clever Marketing By Tetley Tea”

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  5. Mark Strauss says:

    Tea pigs is just another large tea company just trying to convince everyone that they are a small boutique establishment by pretending to be cool. Why are they ashamed?? Why be so secretive?? Did you all know that Tata Tea was recently accused of not paying proper wages to their plantation workers??

  6. billie says:

    tata accused or found guilty?
    I am not sure what the big deal is here. All companies brand themselves to suit their needs, thats sensible marketing. if you see through it then good for you. Many small establishments also claim to be something they are not and charge inflated prices on some misguided notion of being green or healthier or organic which the public buy into.
    If you are going to stop buying things from companies just because they are large then your shopping could be quite challenging in future. I would also like to bet there are loads of very small businesses who would sell out to a big food company without a thought.

  7. Axel says:

    I agree with you on all of that and many small companies I know have done just that, for example they say that they will never sell to Tesco or Morrisons only to be in those in 18 months time, or that they are healthier than industrialised food with no scientific proof. What I don’t like, however, is marketing that is a huge stretch from a base fact or a complete twisting of reality, and Teapigs probably does not even fall into that category, but your comments about green marketing and healthy products sometimes do just what you have said and create a feeling of something better when there is no reality necessarily behind that notion. As for organic being more expensive or healthier, I could never say the latter as I couldn’t proove it with our own research and our spices are actually cheaper on a pence-for-gram basis than many high street brands as are our loose leaf teas, so organic can be cheaper even if no-one will ever believe that. In the end, we’re all hustling and peddling something – even if we believe or kid ourselves otherwise – and we do that in the way we feel will best help our cause within the boundaries of what we feel right, and if we are not willing to go as far as some others well that’s our own problem and no-one else’s.

  8. teafan says:

    Interesting observations, a very simple one from my side. Launching business with no £500k budget to waste is so much more rewarding! Happy for all the teapigs lovers, £ 500k can’t buy much, especially not long term!

  9. eva says:

    I now i’m affraid, i’ve just launched healthy drink shop and now i don’t know how i will compete with such giant. We try to provide the best quality tea
    This is one of our organic fruit tea hope you will use this link. Or maybe you will have an idea how to compete with them :)
    all best

  10. Deepak says:

    Another case of a large multinational fooling consumers by pretending to be a family owned speciality company. Tea Pigs stop doing this. Why you ashamed of yourselves?

  11. Jade says:

    Sorry, but I really don’t like the dishonesty behind the branding here.

    I don’t like the idea that me buying my little packets of expensive Tea Pig tea from what I thought was a small family owned company, is bolstering the profits of a huge global tea company, namely Tata Global Beverages, part of the vast Tata group of companies.

    I won’t be buying any more teas from Tea Pigs that’s for sure!

  12. Steve says:

    I did buy tea from Teapigs…..not anymore!!!

    Agree with Jade – hate it when companies pretend to be small and then you find they are a ‘cuddly’ marketting/branding operation for a multinational giant in this case Tata/Tetley.

    V. unimpressed Tetley Teapigs!

  13. It seems that lots of people are fascinated with our financial backing. Yes, we are backed by Tata Tea, owners of the Tetley brand, a fact not difficult to find with a few clicks of a mouse but since Louise and I set up teapigs in 2006 we’ve operated totally independently and are now self financing and profitable. Louise and I have had an ambition to make better quality tea more accessible and available in the UK, something we feel very precious about and our growth appears to back up our belief that tea drinkers want something better than the slop they have been used to. So for those who are interested, we operate out of our own office in Brentford, we now employ 8 people and are recruiting more as we speak, every decision we’ve ever made has been made by us, no outside influence whatsoever. The whole teapigs team is proud of what we’ve achieved to date through hard work and doing the right things. And, believe it or not, we don’t have mega budgets to spend and quite frankly, don’t need them. We’re thankful for our start up backing but we’re even more thankful for our independence. So, If anyone including Axel and Sophie fancies a tea and some chat then please do pop down and visit us in Brentford. You’ll be very welcome.

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  15. Adrian Melrose says:

    Hi Nick

    Thanks for putting the record straight – I love your brand and tea. Could you please explain what you mean by “backed by” Tata tea. To be truely independent you need to control your company (have more than 50% of the voting shares). If this is the case then backing means they’ve financed you but if you don’t have more than 51% then using “backing” isn’t fair as Tata is teapigs’ owners not backers, surely?

  16. […] In the tea industry, TEAPIGS is a prime example…a made up “SME BRAND” launched by TATA TEA to subvert authentic brands like mine! See blog post here about this. […]

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