The tea and coffee category has been a hotbed of activity since the start of the year, with big spenders Kenco and PG Tips investing more than a million pounds each in an attempt to exploit the cold weather and the staying-in trend.

PG Tips is the biggest spender so far, splashing out £1.6m so far this year to 28 February - a 9,000% increase on its £17,511 spend in the same period last year.

Some 99% of PG Tips' above-the-line spend went on TV, a sign of deflation in the TV ad market, where pricing was down almost 20% year-on-year in January. Once again it employed Johnny Vegas' Al and his puppet sidekick, this time to demonstrate how the brand's pyramid-shaped tea bags make a better tasting cuppa than round bags.

And Tetley seems to be taking a leaf out of PG Tips' book, with a £918,232 spend in the year to date - a big change on last year, when it spent nothing in the same period.

Tetley's ad pushed the health credentials of its green tea variant, showing a woman preparing to go for a run, only to discover at the last minute that it is raining - and retreat to her kitchen for a green tea instead.

The coffee category is no less competitive, with Kenco outgunning its rivals with a year-to-date spend up 3,996% to £1.1m from just £25,747 in the same period last year.

Having jettisoned its annoyingly long-running campaign featuring coffee grower 'Mr Makousa' and his intellectually challenged gap-year helper, Kenco is targeting consumers with an ethical message based around the line 'Growing great coffee and more'.

The ad opens with views of a lush South American valley and a dusty village in which boys are playing ball, when to their surprise and joy a water pump erupts out of the dry ground, followed by school desks and chairs and finally complete houses. A narrator advises that Kenco chooses beans from Rainforest Alliance certified farms, to help coffee workers grow their local communities.

Perhaps wisely given the scale of Kenco's spend, competitor Douwe Egberts laid low during January and early February while Kenco blitzed the airwaves. However, it entered the fray as Kenco started to come off air, with a 30-second ad, reminding coffee drinkers of its 250-year heritage and challenging them to compare its instant coffee to other unnamed offerings.