Mood tea encourages talk and skills to beat suicide

Creating Mood tea and its sophisticated yet confronting launch campaign is the latest initiative from the marketing industry’s social purpose organisation, UnLtd

Mood tea’s ‘Sip selflessly’ campaign is hitting airwaves, press, outdoor, social and digital platforms in pro bono marketing, rolling out its important message through November via more than $10 million in donated media inventory. 

It's the latest project from UnLtd, the advertising, marketing and tech industries’ social purpose organisation which helps the industry partner with grassroots charities that support young people at risk. Mood tea is the first product UnLtd has created and 'Sip selflessly' is its first significant consumer-facing brand launch.

All profits from online sales of Mood tea go to programs in schools to prevent suicides by equipping youth to recognise mental health issues in themselves and their friends, to talk openly, know who to call to get help and that recovery is possible. Since Mood tea’s soft launch in February, sales of the tea have already funded schools programs, run by Backtrack, Batyr and The Sebastian Foundation, which aim to smash the stigma around mental health issues and save young lives. 

Before Covid emerged, UnLtd had already hit upon the importance of fighting against youth suicide and creating a tea range - and encouraging the conversation that so often goes with it. 

“When the pandemic hit, it became glaringly obvious that mental health was growing exponentially as the pandemic grew,” Mood general manager, Jenni Hayward, told CMO. “We wanted to target youth suicide because there’s a taboo there. People don’t talk about it. The way to prevent it is by normalising talking about mental health and encouraging help-seeking behaviour.” 

Jenni Hayward, Mood GMCredit: Mood / UnLtd
Jenni Hayward, Mood GM

Mood has brought together 64 media, marketing and creative companies donating time, talent and inventory in what Hayward described as the biggest philanthropic inventory drive seen in Australia. 

Creative was developed by The Monkeys, directed by Simon Harsent and the Pool Collective team, with audio by SongZu. The campaign is led by two TVCs presenting formal situations, one a Regency-period costume drama and the other a Japanese tea ceremony. The formal situations contrast dramatically with the personal stories told in each, and there’s further contrast because they are told in children’s voices by lip-synching, adult actors. 

“Our TVCs are quite confronting. It’s uncomfortable for people to be having these conversations, but they’re very necessary conversations so we’ve intentionally created a campaign that will make people sit up and take note,” said Hayward. “We’ve used real stories, some of which have come from young people involved with Batyr, of course anonymising the stories and using actors’ voices.” 

Read more: Media brands join UnLtd

Mood looked into the idea that young people don’t drink tea. The group's research found a gap in the market for a more youth-focused tea brand because the category is skewed to older people.

Research showed younger generations do drink tea, and are drinking less coffee and less alcohol than preceding generations of the same age groups. It also found young people, especially Gen Z and younger millennials, overwhelmingly favour what they see as healthy drinks such as iced tea and Kombucha. 

“There wasn’t a brand which really owned younger tea drinkers who want healthy products and to support brands that do good, and especially not a profit-for-purpose brand. And we know the young consumer is a conscious consumer who wants to vote for the world they live in with their dollar,” said Hayward. 

Mood’s research led it to prioritise targeting people 18 to 34 years old and, secondly, 40-years-plus parents especially mothers. The brief for the marketing collective and Melbourne tea wholesaler, TeaVision, was to create something good for young people that helped them at the same time. The tea range is designed to suit different moods throughout the day and with ingredients that have functional benefits to help you focus, feel awake or feel calm. 

Inspired by social enterprises such as Who Gives a Crap, Thank You, Single Use Ain’t Sexy, and Good Humans, Mood tea’s goal is to be a product that looks good, feels good and does good. 

“No-one had thought of having their toilet paper on display until ‘Who Gives a Crap’ came along,” said Hayward. "We’re excited to be a part of that movement."

Mood tea ambassadors will support the launch via a PR campaign by Clear Hayes Consulting, One Green Bean and Poem Group. They include author Jules Sebastian ('Tea and Honesty' ), Roosters NRL player Luke Keary, TV presenter Liv Phyland, and Tiddas 4 Tiddas founder Marlee Silva.

Since its soft launch in February, $150,000 of Mood tea has been sold and proceeds have already gone to two school programs in Warner Vale  involving 230 students. The responses have been overwhelmingly positive: Seventy per cent later said they were more likely to seek help, 89 per cent said they felt better equipped to look after friends and 87 per cent said they thought it important to hear from young people with lived experiences. 

Batyr CEO, Nic Brown, supported bringing stories of hope and resilience to youth across Australia. 

“With Mood’s ongoing support, we can make even more impact and continue to equip young people with the skills to take charge of their mental health, to look out for their mates, and change the conversation around mental health,” he said. 

This is the industry’s chance to tackle a massive issue, according to UnLtd CEO, Chris Freel.  

“Youth suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians and that is not OK. Our mission is to ensure that every young Australian gets the best opportunity in life,” he said. “Imagine if we can look back in a year from now and say our industry helped keep thousands more young people alive. The more people and organisations get involved, the more lives that we can help to save.” 

A range of teas is available as one-off purchases or by subscription.

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