Teafolk pack their bags after 29 years

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The Independent Online

After nearly 30 years the television characters who helped to convince a generation of Britons to use teabags are bowing out.

The Tetley Teafolk have been part of British advertising since 1973, when the antics of Gaffer, Sydney, Archie, Tina, Maurice, Gordon and Clarence first appeared as rivals to the chimps from PG Tips.

The cartoon characters became so popular entire storylines, stretching to 50 different adverts, were written around their personalities and a range of china figurines in their image became collectors' items.

But as sales of tea declined among younger consumers, who no longer see it as fashionable, the characters from Tetley are to be pensioned off in favour of a £15m campaign to present a younger, more upbeat image.

Using real people to act out scenarios intended to portray success and "of living life to the full", Tetley hopes to latch on to a new generation of drinkers who prefer the lure of sports drinks and fruit juices.

Nigel Holland, Tetley's marketing director, said: "Tea's the nation's favourite drink but we take it for granted. It's actually good for you and many people don't realise that." As part of the campaign to be launched next Monday, Tetley has produced three new adverts that will be shown throughout the year.

The company also plans to take the message that tea can help to prevent heart disease and cancer into gyms, leisure centres and health clubs.

Adrian Sandy, marketing manager, said "We want to move the market on and that's why the Tetley Teafolk are having a break."