New character, updated message round out Tetley ads

It's about time the Tetley tea folk invited another woman into their little animated world. On Jan. 7, in a new TV spot created by FCB Toronto, Aunt Welly joined the family, and she's someone almost everyone can relate to - your typical maternal, middle-aged aunt. (She's the second female, after Teana, who has been around for quite some time.)

It’s about time the Tetley tea folk invited another woman into their little animated world. On Jan. 7, in a new TV spot created by FCB Toronto, Aunt Welly joined the family, and she’s someone almost everyone can relate to – your typical maternal, middle-aged aunt. (She’s the second female, after Teana, who has been around for quite some time.)

The 30-second commercial also features a new tagline, ‘Good things all around.’ According to Chris McGroarty, a copywriter at FCB, the message plays off not only the roundness of the uniquely shaped Tetley tea bag (not to mention those plump tea folk themselves), but also that the brand’s assortment extends ‘well beyond just black tea.’ The overall effort will also incorporate print ads, which debut in the February issues of women’s magazines, such as Chatelaine, Elm Street and Canadian Living.

‘The campaign leverages our core equity, which is a round tea bag, and does it in a fun, creative way, by highlighting our range of teas,’ says Steve Rice, brand manager at Tetley’s Mississauga, Ont.-based office. Rice explains that while Tetley gulps a significant amount of the market share in regular tea (41% compared to Red Rose’s 20%), it also wants to see growth in the specialty sector, where it leads with 21%.

‘We challenged FCB to come up with new creative that leverages a very powerful intellectual property, our tea folk, but also continues to evolve them over time, which was accomplished through the introduction of a new character.’

The TV commercial feels evocative of past Tetley fare – it is animated and stars the rotund, elfish characters who chatter away to the gentle music of wind instruments. In the ad, Aunt Welly arrives and pulls out various varieties of Tetley tea from her handbag, which is, of course, appropriately round-shaped.

In print, tea folk are left behind in favour of clever product shots, although Aunt Welly appears at the bottom in an effort to pull the campaign together. There are three print ads – each one portraying a round tea bag on a soft-coloured background, where the contained tea leaves form a shape related to a specific flavour. For instance, for green tea, it looks like a yin yang, suggesting a sense of balance, according to McGroarty. Herbal tea depicts a peace sign, and health-improving echinacea a happy face.

McGroarty says that while there are no hard health messages in any of the creative, with the focus instead being on the assortment of teas, it is implied in the print. ‘We’re trying with the print to get a fresh take on tea and we’re trying to have these loose associations,’ he says. ‘It’s growing out of a sense that tea is becoming recognized as a wonderful drink that makes you feel good.’

Since Aunt Welly is incorporated into the clean, effective print ads, a secondary intention is to make the tea folk less outdated in the eyes of Tetley’s broad 35-to-54 demographic, according to McGroarty. ‘It made sense, if we wanted to get people to re-look at the tea folk, to introduce a new character.’

The print ads have also been spun into 10-second closed captioning broadcast spots. In them, the tea bags roll in from off screen and then the tea transforms into the yin yang, peace or happy face symbols. And, of course, Aunt Welly is again present to provide that visual link to her cheery tea folk clan.

Credits

Account Director: Sabrina D’Orazio

Account Executive: Katherine Watchorn

Creative Director: Robin Heisey

:30 TV Copywriter: Mary Secord

:30 TV Art Director: Ed Lea

:10 TV Copywriter: Chris McGroarty/Greg Grey

:10 TV Art Director: Gary Westgate/Nick Burton

Print Copywriter: Chris McGroarty/Greg Grey

Print Art Director: Gary Westgate/Nick Burton

Print Production: Victor Carvalho

Aunt Welly Illustrator: Stuart Godfrey

Animation: The Animation House

Producer: Michael Crabtree

Director: Terry Godfrey