Nestea Back On TV; Updates 'Plunge' Campaign

After a two-decade absence, Nestea is returning to U.S. television, with spots that revive and update the "Take the Nestea Plunge" campaign that ran from the Seventies through the Nineties.

The new campaign from Publicis Hawkeye, which also includes print and online advertising, pays homage to the original ads, featuring people falling backwards into pools of water after taking a drink of Nestea iced tea. In the new TV ad, a stranded musician who is found wandering the desert is shown plunging backward into water after grabbing a cold Nestea, and then being transported to a concert where he's a "crowd surfing" star.

The campaign, which also includes a "Nestea Plunge into Summer" sweepstakes, is tied to a new reformulation that has reduced the beverage's calories and improved its taste, according to Nestea.

The larger objective is regaining some of the share that has been lost by Nestea in recent years -- even as AriZona and other brands have enjoyed significant growth, thanks to consumers switching from soda to iced tea and other alternatives perceived as being healthier.

The more than 40-year-old Nestea brand has suffered partly because Nestlé and Coca-Cola disbanded their 50/50 joint venture in the ready-to-drink tea category, Beverage Partners Worldwide, within the U.S. as of 2012.  

The Nestea brand was "marginalized" because it "hadn't been actively communicated in a decade," but now that it's under the Nestlé Waters North America brand portfolio (as of January 2013) and leadership, there is renewed focus on rebuilding its sales and share, Rick Tanner, VP of marketing for Nestlé Waters, told Brandchannel

Tanner also said that research confirmed that "Take the Nestea Plunge" -- once a pop-cultural touchpoint -- resonates with younger consumers. 

Many older consumers still remember the long-running campaign. And the Nestea brand still has 95% awareness among American consumers, according to Nestlé Waters. 

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