Tata Tea Kanan Devan brews a strong bond, sharing its leaf to cup story

India Infoline News Service | Mumbai | September 20, 2016, 15:35 IST

According to a recent MTV Many Me study, 81% of youth between the ages of 13-25 years believe that is it important to have hobbies and interests outside of work.

For most of us, a day doesn’t begin without that first cup of chai. But have we ever paused to ask ourselves where this aromatic brew comes from? Tata Tea Kanan Devan, a heritage tea brand from the house of Tata Global Beverages, gave tea-loving consumers the unique opportunity to experience the story behind their everyday cup of chai with the Photography Escapade 2. Leveraging photography as an emerging trend, this annual online photography contest invited consumers to visit the Kanan Devan Hills in Munnar, Kerala, and immerse themselves in the scenic beauty of the tea plantations.  
According to a recent MTV Many Me study, 81% of youth between the ages of 13-25 years believe that is it important to have hobbies and interests outside of work. Their need to find their passion and their calling means constantly and subconsciously exploring and capturing the world around them. Simultaneously, the growing popularity of visual content driven platforms like Instagram and Snapchat prove that visual story telling is here to stay and every smartphone user is a photographer in his/her own right. Backed by these insights and driven by doing things differently, Tata Tea Kanan Devan sought to reach out to its younger, tech-savvy audience by utilizing their love for photography as the base of its contest.
Photography Escapade 2 was launched on 8 July 2016 and ran for 15 days across Tata Tea Kanan Devan’s social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, drawing hundreds of entries from across the country in a short span of time. The competition saw some of the best photographers from across the country vying to be a part of the top 10, who made the trip of a lifetime to the picturesque Kanan Devan tea plantations in Munnar. The Kanan Devan Hills Plantations is the largest employee-owned tea company in the world, and covers a total area of 23,783 hectares, all located in the high ranges of Idukki District in Kerala.
The process to apply was simple. Participants could head over to the Photography Escapade microsite and upload up to three photographs with a caption and a story behind each click. Once the call for entries closed on 22 July 2016, the jury shortlisted 10 photographers to be a part of a memorable four days and three nights trip to the tea plantations in Munnar.
Commenting on the campaign, Sushant Dash, Regional President Tata Global Beverages said, “We at Tata Global Beverages strive to contemporize our many brands to connect with our target audiences in a unique, exciting and interactive manner.  Globally, brands are facing the universal challenge of connecting with their target audiences in an appealing manner. With the changing needs of consumers and the quick-pace in which trends are moving, we as marketers are tasked to find the ‘sweet spot’ in connecting with consumers. Tata Tea Kanan Devan being a heritage brand, cracked this challenge in a way that excited its consumers through the use of photography- a prominent trend among the youth. As we at Tata Global Beverages have successfully done in the past with Jaago Re and Power of 49, we took a simple idea and transformed it by thinking differently. With the Photography Escapade 2 campaign, we encouraged our consumers to experience the story behind their everyday cup of tea. This campaign encapsulates how we as a brand constantly work towards evolving our communication with our consumers by creating interactive and rich experiences.”
The competition enabled participants to immerse themselves in the splendor of the Kanan Devan Hills where they honed their skills through a photography workshop under the mentorship of renowned photographer, Amit Rane. Their skills were then put to test while taking a tour of one of the best tea estates in Kerala. Each day of the trip was a new challenge where the photographers got to capture in its complete essence, the natural beauty of the hills, the people of Munnar and the intrepid journey of tea from leaf to cup. While the journey took them closer to the grand prize, more importantly, it gave them the sheer joy of capturing the entire experience through their own lens.
In merely two seasons, the contest has grown to become a property the brand is known for. The second edition of Photography Escapade built a network of youth ambassadors of the brand and brought together a diverse set of people with a love for two things – tea and photography. It also helped renew a 32 year old brand of tea, making it relevant to a youthful and diverse audience.
For some, Photography Escapade was just the push they needed to pursue their passion for photography as a full time profession. Speaking about his experience, Sharath Chandrappa, from Bangalore a participant in the first edition of the competition shared, “I used to work for an IT firm and shot for professional assignments on and off. But I never truly believed I was meant to a techie. This competition refueled my undying passion for photography. I am now a full-time professional photographer and have shot numerous wedding and outdoor shoots, couple portraits and fashion shoots. I’m really happy things worked out this way for me.” 
The grand prize winner, Prabhu Prakash received camera accessories worth Rs. 50,000. To top it up, his winning photograph will be featured on Kanan Devan special edition packs, reaching out to millions of consumers who may not be present on the digital space. The best shortlisted pictures taken by the 10 winners during the trip will be featured on a special Photography Escapade 2 calendar for 2017.
The Kanan Devan Special Edition packs and Photography Escapade 2 calendars will be available in stores by the end of the year. 

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