The classic English cuppa is set for a stiff upper lip-quivering marketing makeover, as PG Tips attempts to find the emotional side of tea.

In a bid to drive loyalty into a tea category suffering from long-term volume decline, Unilever said it was taking a new tack with its PG Tips marketing by tapping into people's emotional tea ties.

The brand's new £3.4m TV push, which started this week, centres around Monkey and Al enjoying a 'coming home cuppa'.

PG Tips marketing had previously focused on functional benefits, like the pyramid bag or Rainforest Alliance accreditation, said brand manager Silvia Grattieri. She claimed a more emotional approach was required to boost sales in a category hit by increased promotions after "failing to drive brand loyalty". "We want to bring back relevance for tea drinkers," she said. "It's a very commoditised category; very promotionally driven. Consumer research showed that, for tea drinkers, tea is more than the brown liquid. It is the moment you feel. As soon as people start talking about the tea moment they talk in a very engaged way."

Decreased consumption and penetration of tea meant volume had been in long-term decline (flat in the year to November), even as price rises contributed to increased value sales up 8.9% for the category to £606.7m [IRI MAT 30 November] she added.

Despite the challenges, PG Tips has grown its market share to 27.2% its highest position in 10 years. It has also managed to keep volume growth positive at 1.4% over the past year, with value sales up 8.9%.