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Piping Hot: The Creative Campaigns of Twinings Tea

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Devoted tea drinkers may not understand why a beloved brand like Twinings continues to reinvent itself and introduce new products and blends. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, they say. But really, it’s just good business – even if it doesn’t seem necessary.

Case in point: despite customer backlash at the new and “improved” Earl Grey variety (which has since been restored to its original recipe), sales on the product reportedly rose. Regardless of your favourite blend or flavour, Twinings is doing something right, and that’s realising how important it is to constantly keep things moving forward, even when it comes to tea.
In 2012 the company announced that it would double its marketing spend, appointing Helen Hatridge as its new marketing director while relaunching and expanding its fruit and herbal teas range to appeal to a wider and younger audience. Take a look at the campaigns that have come before and after, and how they’ve worked to keep building a brand that’s over 300 years old.
Discover the Art of Tea

The £1.3 million Art of Tea campaign invited artists like Tom Parks (seen above) and Ilana Yahav (below) to demonstrate the beautiful potential of undrunk tea while highlighting its ever-expanding product line. Hatridge stated at the time, “We’ve placed a considerable investment behind the on-going campaign to communicate to our consumers that there really is a different tea for every mood.”

Although the ads were visually stunning and well received, online views remained low, leading the brand to question its spending choices. Efforts were since refocused onto product development and online engagement to combat a reported dip in sales.
Hatridge believes that revamping and launching new lines like Everyday Tea, Infusions, and Silky Pyramids is what will keep that brand “light-hearted and fun,” and attested last year that Twinings was “seeing good increases in the number of younger drinkers coming to the brand because of the breadth of products.”
It’s important to note that new generations respond to various content and media differently than those past, so even if a project doesn’t go as well as expected, it’s necessary to experiment and go through some trial and error to find what fits.
Gets You Back to You

With over 1.5 million views on YouTube, the first video ad for Twinings’ Gets You Back to You campaign was a sure success compared to its precedent. Targeted at female fans, the campaign expressed appreciation for the full lives that modern ladies lead and highlighted the importance of taking time for yourself – 10 minutes a day to enjoy a cup of tea in peace.

Viewers were drawn in by the beautiful illustrations and accompanying music that, while not necessarily tea-related, worked to engage a broad audience – of women and men. The next year, the brand followed up with a second installment using the same style of animation with a new song and story.
Though it has yet to hit the million view mark (it’s almost there), the response has been similarly positive and shows how thirsty people are for something that draws on one’s emotions and tells a compelling tale. The same old product spotlight, especially when it comes to something like tea, just doesn’t seem to cut it anymore.

The result? Twinings market share reached a reported 14.1% towards the end of 2011 (the year the ad came out), “the result of the campaign stimulating underlying growth of 5%.” On top of that, online engagement soared with over 85,000 monthly returning visitors to twinings.co.uk – over 50K more than expected.
What kind of story can you weave around your brand or product? Now’s the time to let your imagination run wild.
Make Work Wonderful

Twinings latest innovative turn comes in the form of a first-ever content partnership for the brand, known as Make Work Wonderful. In a new deal with the Huffington Post UK, the online paper’s editorial team is writing an estimated 60 lifestyle articles targeted at working women aged 25-45.
The project follows the brand’s current Make Water Wonderful campaign, which positions its Infusions line as a perfect water alternative. Twinings aims to fill that mid-afternoon slump so many of us hit. The plan? “Every day for the next 12 weeks we’ll be releasing a fantastic new article, video or gallery at 3pm to brighten up your day – just the ticket to enjoy over a tasty fruity infusion!”

Topics have covered your standard cat and dog video-breaks to work-place tips and general interest pieces. Not only is the project creating heightened brand awareness, it’s also giving Twinings a rare and vital look into the needs, habits and interests of its audience when it comes to engaging with various content.
The new undertaking is a perfect example of a big brand that’s not afraid to take risks and move forward with the changing times. Back when Sean Summers was still marketing director, he stated:

“Previously in our marketing we had given very rational reasons to buy Twinings and got a rational response. Now it’s about understanding our role within consumers lives and it’s triggered an emotional response.”

The takeaway here is that good marketing goes beyond your product and really gets at the heart of your brand. Twinings isn’t just about tea. It’s about the art of a moment, making time for yourself and finding beauty in unexpected places. Reaching consumers with consistent, cadenced content makes your brand a part of their routine. And if you’re enjoying a hot cup of Earl Grey while you’re at it, that’s good, too. Now who’s in the mood to fill up the kettle?
By Anastasia Dyakovskaya, NewsCred Contributor
Images via Twinings Tea

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