PG Tips: Driving Monkey to the top of the social chain

Who needs a Trojan horse when you’ve got a Monkey?

AnalogFolk won many awards including the Chairman's Award, Content Marketing Agency of the Year and Most Innovative or Creative Use of Content, at the 2017 Drum Content Awards. They explain the strategy they used to make these award winning campaigns happen.


How do you connect with a bleary-eyed audience, first thing in the morning? The Morning Moods campaign combined PG’s iconic Monkey, the most fun way to express your feelings and some perfect technological timing. The brilliant, playful and almost entirely unbranded GIFs gained 25m organic views on Giphy in 6 weeks, and have now reached 148m. AnalogFolk stole the show at the Content Awards 2017, with their strong use of content on social media for PG Tips. We discuss the key points and challenges they had to drive them to winning multiple awards.

With PG Tips being the U.K.'s most popular tea brand, you would think our ' tea drinking nation' is right behind them, but in fact, consumption was on the decline. And undisputed market leader – PG tips’ longstanding rival, Tetley – has been outspending PG tips and capturing market share. With the help of Monkey their brand ambassador, AnalogFolk placed strategic plans to bring the much loved tea brand back to the top of the game.


​ PG tips’ brand is fronted by Monkey, a well-loved, animated knitted sock puppet adopted by PG tips in 2006. He leads the PG tips overarching marketing campaign #keepittea – bringing a bit of ‘reali-tea’ to life.


Some mornings can be difficult (Monday, we’re looking at you). Others can be awesome or simply meh. We identified through social listening and keyword searches on Twitter that there’s an existing conversation around morning moods, with established trends over the course of the week. However, sometimes these turned out to be contradictory e.g. Mondays peaked for being both Tired and Productive, while Fridays over-indexed in people who were calm as well as those who were motivated.

Our strategy was to join the conversation and talk about moods through the emotional currency of funny GIFs. To do this, we put Monkey to work to create a seemingly endless set of shareable GIF assets – Sad Monkey, Zen Monkey, Sassy Monkey, Sleepy Monkey, Confident Monkey etc. – which drove people back to a clear product message. We chose not to assign specific sentiments for specific days, but rather to create a suite of emotions the audience could use to represent how they were feeling that day.

PG tips wanted to raise awareness and drive purchase of its wider black tea portfolio (Assam, English Breakfast etc.) to differentiate itself and cement its role as market leader in the face of evolving competition. The problem was that, wherever our audience were, they tended to consume their default black tea. Hot beverages in general are relied upon for waking up, punctuating workdays, gaining favour, welcoming home, relieving illness and lulling to sleep. In this case, we focused on the mornings – a key driver for hot beverage consumption. Our communications needed to give people a compelling reason why PG tips is the perfect accompaniment for their morning, highlighting our black tea varieties in the process.

Some key points to focus on were:

  • Morning hot beverage ritual identified as key driver of consumption
  • Leverage Monkey and unique brand tone of voice to join the conversation around morning moods
  • Use bespoke Monkey GIFs, the internet’s hugely popular alternative language and device for people to express themselves
  • Go beyond social listening to deliver real-time brand to consumer interactions


The challenge was clear, how do they drive taste relevancy and make PG tips the perfect accompaniment for your morning?

First they needed to identify their chosen social media platform which as Twitter. This is where consumers were expressing their morning mood in the moment, and therefore provided the perfect space for us to insert ourselves into organic conversations. Within twitter, their main focus was how to target the morning market and the habitual hot beverage consumer. They also needed to to join and engage in the social conversation on Twitter around mornings to drive more traffic to the brand and to trend on Twitter.

The GIF that keeps on giving

Everyone’s doing it

The timing was perfectly planned, with Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter and iMessage all integrating GIF keyboards into their functionality to make finding and sharing them even easier.

Act like a user, not a brand

It was important to understand where people go to find and use GIFs on Twitter to be authentic. The answer? Partner with Giphy, which powers the Twitter GIF menu. We were using Twitter like a normal user, not a brand. By keeping the content authentic and branding subtle, the GIFs were trended by Giphy, making sure our knitted ambassador appeared first when anyone felt Happy, Sad, Sassy, Sleepy, or just had that Monday morning feeling.

Engage in the conversation

Once we’d let these out into the world, we also wanted to use them to speak to people, as PG tips, on Twitter, with our distinct tone of voice. On top of organic conversations, paid Twitter posts aimed to drive brand engagement with new audiences, with delivery being timed to coincide with mornings. We used a format that was hot off the press, Twitter Moments, as a way to demonstrate the range of our GIFs in a simple and interesting format.

The featured moods and accompanying copy changed depending on the day to maximise relevance. Furthermore, every morning we went deeper than just social listening. We had a team of writers trawling Twitter and giving real-time, super-responsive replies to people reacting to how they were feeling, along with one of our GIFs, of course.


By keeping everything we did authentic, timely and humorous, we saw an unprecedented amount of interaction with our campaign.

Organic results

  • 25 million organic views on Giphy (in just 6 weeks). Latest figures are 148 million.
  • Gifs appeared on the top trending Giphy categories: ‘Excited’, ‘Zen’ and ‘No’.

Paid results

  • A high reach of 1.5m at an average frequency of 1-2 (in just 6 weeks).
  • Just under 4 million impressions (in just 6 weeks).
  • Average Engagement Rate (ER) was 3.04%, performing above Twitter’s industry standard of 2-3%.
  • Overall VTR rate was 17%, above the 15% industry benchmark.

Fans and celebrities were quick to embrace our content, with names such as Rudimental, Edith Bowman, Lauren Pope, Sarah Millican, and even the anchors of Good Morning Britain, to name but a few, all authentically engaging with the campaign.

We helped people sum up how they were feeling and our content was readily shared by an often brandaverse audience.

This meant that, for a modest budget of £50k, we didn’t just join the morning conversation, but totally owned it.

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