July 2017

Capturing the magic of tea and tea estates

Tata Tea Kanan Devan conceived the Kanan Devan Photography Escapade (KDPE) to convey the brand’s uniqueness and to reach out to younger consumers. Rishi Chadha, head, tea marketing – India, Tata Global Beverages (TGB), talks about the photography contest, its USPs and the engagement it has generated

How did the idea of the Kanan Devan Photography Escapade (KDPE) originate?
In 2014, the brand faced two key challenges – how to tell our consumers ‘the uniqueness of Kanan Devan’ and to contemporise the brand primarily to connect with younger audiences – our future consumers.

While the restage on the brand addressed most of the challenges by telling the source story to our consumers, the task of engaging younger audiences wasn’t something that a routine restage could do on its own. Hence, we came up with this idea of connecting photography (a growing trend among younger consumers) with the plantation story of the brand. KDPE gave our consumers a chance to share the brand’s unique plantation story through their lenses with our consumers through our social platforms.

At TGB, we have always believed in doing things differently and the genesis of KDPE actually happened over a cup of chai (tea) between our brand manager and the digital marketer.

  • The photo of a tea plantation worker won the People's Choice award in the first edition of Kanan Devan Photography Escapade.
  • The photo was bestowed the People's Choice award in KDPE second edition.
  • The photo captures the beauty of emerald green Kanan Devan hills and was adjudged the winner in KDPE first edition.
  • The photo by Prabhu Prakash, winner of Kanan Devan Photography Escapade second edition, adorns the brand's special edition pack.

What was unique about KDPE 3 and how was it different from the earlier editions?
When we started thinking on KDPE3, we challenged ourselves to not just make it bigger and better but also make it more exciting and engaging for our consumers – both who make it to the Kanan Devan Hills and those who engage with us on our social platforms.

Given that our target consumers are shifting their digital viewing preferences towards video content and that the brand task is to build on the positioning of ‘refreshing Kanan Devan hills in a cup’, we intend to bring this all together in a series of interesting webisodes that will be shot at the Kanan Devan Hills.

This year, the format is similar to a reality show centered on a contest spin in the Kanan Devan Hills. The participants will get a chance to explore our plantations for the treasure hunt which is set in a way to narrate the brand’s leaf to cup story and the various elements that come together to make the brand unique. Hence, we have two landscape photography and videography specialists to mentor the participants.

What has been the response to KDPE3?
The response this year has been phenomenal. As in the past two editions, our call for entries trended on twitter. We witnessed over 10 million impressions just for the call for entries and the engagement levels kept building all through to the last date for contest entry. Given the enthusiastic participation, we had no choice but to extend our last dates for submitting entries. KDPE3 has seen a three-fold increase in the contest entries.

What has been the feedback from KDPE participants / winners?
KDPE has been life changing experience for many of our participants. While the winner of KDPE1, Arjun Krishna, moved full time into photography, Prabhu Prakash, the winner of KDPE2, was elated to see his picture adorn the special edition pack of Tata Tea Kanan Devan making it to millions of households.  

According to Mr Prakash, KDPE2 gave him the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to revel in the beauty of the tea plantations and understand the tea production process. I’m delighted to have won and have my photograph feature on the pack of Tata Tea Kanan Devan. This experience has refuelled my undying passion for photography and tea too.”

How has Kanan Devan brand’s customer messaging evolved over the years?
Kanan Devan has been a long-standing mark in the tea markets of Kerala and Karnataka. Tata Tea Kanan Devan (branded tea, launched as poly packs in 1986) has now been in the market for over three decades. The core proposition of Kanan Devan Classic is “unique taste of tea from the Kanan Devan Hills”. The first communication of Kanan Devan featured PT Usha and was on the premise of leaf to cup in 15 days of plucking.

Staying true to Kanan Devan’s core proposition, our campaign with Malayalam actor Mohanlal had the key message of ‘As you go higher, the tea tastes better’. The campaign spoke about the Kanan Devan Hills’ perfect climatic conditions that render the tea a unique distinct flavour which consumers love.