Some of you know that I am a PhD student doing research in China this year, and today, in Shanghai, we had a dissertation group meeting today, with a few fellow PhD students talking about their respective projects. That, of course, is not interesting subject for this blog.
What is interesting is the tea I drank. Lipton Yellow Label tea.
A thought occurred to me today — what makes it so that Lipton, a company that sells what really is an inferior product, can penetrate the country where tea is originally made and still made with such sophistication?
I posed this question to the group, and got everybody wondering. After all, there are cases where something that is abhorred earlier would take over a market after it’s been accepted, but usually, that something is foreign, unknown. Tea, on the other hand, is not such a thing. Chinese drink tea all the time. I suppose bad tea in a bag is unknown, foreign, just as coke or pepsi or sushi might be, but still…. it’s like introducing some weird burger to Americans and taking the States by storm. Mos Burger (google it) is weird, is good, but is not popular outside of Hawaii.
So, I guess the question is — how did Lipton do it?
I suppose the fact that it’s in a bag helps. The perceived image of drinking something foreign (foreign must be good!) helps. But the tea itself is horrible… it’s a little sour, flat, not aromatic, goes well only with milk (I was imaginging it having milk in it the whole time I was drinking my bag). Why do people like it? It’s not even that cheap.