PG Tips has launched its first new advertising campaign for eight years, featuring actor Ashley Walters.

The £12m ‘Rock Solid’ campaign – which debuted during Britain’s Got Talent on 4 May – is led by a 70-second spot featuring the star of Netflix drama Top Boy and directed by Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen.

It is soundtracked by music from Mercury Prize-winning group Ezra Collective.

The spot is a major departure from PG Tips adverts of years gone by, with the knitted talking monkey for which the brand was once known having been retired in 2016. 

In its place, British actor and rapper Walters is depicted coaching himself “out of the doldrums” over a cup of PG Tips.

Inspiration for the ad came after a poll by the brand found almost half of UK adults took tea breaks to clear their heads, PG Tips said.

Meanwhile, 64% of UK tea drinkers agreed “sipping on a brew can be a mindful moment” it added.

This led PG Tips to develop an advert that spotlighted “how the modern tea break has evolved into a moment to pause every day”.

The campaign is the latest piece of investment from PG Tips owner Lipton Teas & Infusions to revive the brand, which has fallen from favour in recent years.

Once the UK’s favourite tea brand, PG Tips lost £2.8m last year and has fallen behind Yorkshire Tea, Twinings and Tetley [NIQ 52 w/e 9 September 2023].

The brand was last year relaunched by Lipton with a new blend and quick-brewing teabag that is claimed to make the perfect brew in just 60 seconds.

“We recognise that our tea-drinking habits and tastes have evolved and will continue to evolve, and with that in mind, our expert tea-blenders have spent two years developing a new and improved blend that delivers high-quality taste,” said Lipton UK &I general manager Liam McNamara. “I hope this story inspires a fresh perspective with every sip because it’s our most perfect, full-bodied, and refreshing blend ever.”

To produce the new PG Tips, Lipton has spent £40m in upgrading the brand’s factory in Manchester.