The tea that floats your boat

Lipton tea is one of the first brands that entered the GCC region and today, tea bags are synonymous with Lipton. Read the attached article to know how Unilever’s flagship tea brand navigated its way to the hearts of the people in the UAE.

When Lipton changed its television advertisement for Yellow Label tea in 1983 from one featuring a horseman in a desert oasis to another set in the Bahamas, the company's containers of product were suddenly stopped at UAE ports.

Apparently - as former Lipton manager Deepak Tuleja later discovered - the director of Abu Dhabi customs had taken exception to the new advertisement and was refusing to allow the tea into the country until the old one was returned to the television.

"That's how much of an iconic brand it had become," says Mr Tuleja, who is retired and living in Canada. "He stopped our containers coming and said 'me and my family want to see that advert back on Abu Dhabi television'. So we put it back on."

Since the early 1980s, when it first arrived in the UAE, Lipton's Yellow Label has become synonymous with tea, whether served with two green cardamom pods and a dash of Rainbow milk at a roadside cafe or poured from a china tea pot at a fancy restaurant.

Despite its British origins - it was first produced in 1890 by the Glaswegian merchant Sir Thomas Lipton - the Yellow Label brand is not promoted in the UK and is most popular in the Middle East and Asia.

The company has its second largest tea factory in the world in Jebel Ali free zone (the largest is in Manchester, England) and from there exports to 47 countries.

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