2019 Finalist

Of Tea, Bengali and Sugar


Calcutta, India

Category Best Marketing Solution for an Advertising Client

Media associated with this campaign

Overview of this campaign

Sugarfree was in the mid of a dichotomy. While awareness about the demerits of Sugar was increasing, the consumers were not turning to Sugar substitutes. They instead were reluctantly trying to adopt a ‘sugarless’ version of their most favourite drink – Tea.

In India – Tea is ‘cooked’ not ‘brewed.’ A steaming hot cup of tea would mean a concoction of boiled tea leaves in water, some milk and lots of sugar. This delicious hot drink is available in non-descript tea stalls in every nook and corner of the city. While, the tea stalls served the ‘cooked’ Indian Tea to the consumers, they also served a ‘sugarless’ version of the Tea to aware consumers who were trying to develop a taste for it.

The reason for this alienation from sugar was due to a high decibel awareness campaign unleashed by health experts on the demerits of sugar. Sugar was positioned as the ‘new tobacco’ to alert them about its shortcomings. With the fright of increasing sugar levels in blood and Diabetes, Tea drinkers started dreading ‘sweetness.’ For an regular aware consumer, the belief was:

Sugar = Sweetness = Diabetes

ABP was tasked change the equation into

Sugar = Sweetness ? Diabetes

The task was uphill and ABP accepted the challenge of getting the consumers to try sugar substitute (Sugarfree) instead of ‘deserting sweetness’ from their lives. The objectives were thus to (a) promote Sugarfree as an answer to the problems posed by sugar (b) position Sugarfree as a means of prevention over cure and (c) demystify the wrong notion that sweetness is not always injurious. In short, we had to introduce sweet Tea back into the lives of the consumers.

West Bengal is an eastern Indian state and its inhabitants are referred to as Bengalis who speak the language by the same name
Anandabazar Patrika (referred to as ABP), is the largest read Bengali daily

Results for this campaign

We conceived the campaign idea ‘cha chaluk, chini noy’ which when translated from Bengali means ‘drop the sugar, stay with the tea’

We were reasonably certain about the fact that the Tea stalls could play a pivotal role in turning the fortunes around for Sugarfree. A dipstick conducted by us revealed that more than 82% of our audience preferred having sweet Tea but were trying sugarless tea terrified by the possibility of turning Diabetic.


We decided to target the Tea stalls. We tied up with around 150 such tea stalls and introduced a new item in their Menu.

Sugarfree Tea

We took a multimedia route where we promoted the campaign across Print and Radio. We did aggressive take overs of the tea stall and branded them with campaign messaging. We posted Sugarfree volunteers at the Tea stall who educated the consumers of the benefits of Sugarfree.

At the end of week 8, our consumers were realized the following:

–     That sugarless Tea could also be tasty

–     That Sugar = Sweetness but Sweetness ? Diabetes

A lot of the Tea drinkers took to liking the taste of Sugarfree Tea.

The brand growth numbers* were encouraging

Growth vs

same period LY

























The stagnating (single digit) secondary sales growth numbers jumped to 14%, the highest growth ever in the last 7 quarters.


1. Zydus India internal sales data

2. Nielsen data



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