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Kermit teams up with Lipton

Published March 7, 2014 at 6:43 am

A refreshing beverage, the best in film and a beloved childhood icon: could there be a more perfect combination?

Unilever hopes not. The company is set to debut its first global campaign for the Lipton brand during this weekend’s Academy Award broadcast. For Muppet lovers, this should prove to be exciting,as the ad will center around Kermit the Frog.

Unilever hopes that this new marketing push and the associated slogan, “Be the Tea,” will keep Lipton fresh and relevant in the minds of consumers. Considering the massive audience drawn for every Oscar telecast, the chances are fairly strong that the 60 second commercial will make a big splash.

It will need to. Unilever is breaking the bank on this one, doubling Lipton’s marketing spend to over $40 million dollars, as compared to last year. The campaign is designed to bolster sales for both hot tea and iced, a move that marks the first global effort supporting the entire lineup at once.

Alessandra Bellini, VP-brand development for Unilever Refreshments, has expressed optimism for the possibilities of this initiative.

“We believe the power of this brand is much bigger than has been realized so far,” she said, “because it touches so many consumers around the world. And having a unified approach, personality, positioning and campaign and ultimately visual identity and packaging will just help maximize those opportunities.”

When the slogan was first conceived, the idea was actually independent of any Muppet involvement. However, once executives fleshed out the concept and considered what it might mean for the Lipton brand, they realized that Kermit had to be involved in some way.

Bellini noted that Kermit stood out among Muppets because he is “playful and thoughtful,” two attributes that might encourage a customer to reconsider a drink that they may have overlooked in the past.

In addition, he is a character and has the potential to stir up nostalgia among people who have fond memories of his prior antics.

For Lipton, the Oscars are a natural time to debut this campaign. Not only is it a global event that comes with massive exposure, it also happens in March: a month that straddles the line between the winter hot tea months and the summer iced tea ones.

Unilever has a lot of money riding on this combination. After Sunday, we’ll see if they made the right choice.

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