MAA blast from the past: Unilever quits tea – that’s no way to treat a chimp

Unilever is selling its tea business – including PG Tips and Lipton – to CVC Capital Partners for £3.8bn as it concentrates on more youthful customers, a fashionable although not necessarily more profitable thing to do.

For many baby boomers in the 1950s, PG Tips was advertising as its loveable chimps (we know a little better now) cavorted for the cameras. The agency was Davidson Pearce, then attached to pre-WPP Ogilvy and subsequently acquired by BMP, then DDB.

The PG Tips business became something of a curse at the Knightsbridge agency, defining it in many eyes. It was even said that those who worked on the business long enough took on the characteristics of the moody apes.

Still pretty good. Wonder how it would fare in the social media era? Viral delight or woke nightmare?

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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