Thomas Twining predicts 21st-century teas in 18th-century themed ads

Character portraying the tea company's founder predicts today's consumers will want herbal teas, not ones made from fish bladder

Published On
Apr 24, 2019

Editor's Pick

Thomas Twining stars in fresh ads for teas, taking credit for creating new blends being sold nearly 300 years after his death.

Digital spots for Twinings North America portray scenes at a tea shop Twining opened in 1706, using humor to highlight the brand’s heritage and expertise. 

“Everyone talks about authenticity,” says Katie Butler, VP of marketing, Twinings North America, who says the brand wants to highlight its heritage and expertise “without seeming old-fashioned or stuffy.”

In one of the “From 1706 & Beyond” spots, the Thomas Twining character tells tea drinkers that in 300 years he’ll make a turmeric tea to soothe the digestive system. “And what about the plague?” a sickly-looking woman asks, as other patrons quickly depart.

Having a representation of Twining, who died in 1741, promote some of its newer products makes Twinings the latest brand to go back in time to tell a brand story. Unlike campaigns such as Bud Light’s “Dilly Dilly,” which is set in medieval times despite the brand’s national launch in 1982, Twinings has history on its side. Twinings traces its roots back to 1706, when Thomas Twining bought Tom's Coffee House in London and began selling tea in the same space where Twinings continues to have a shop (216 Strand).

Last fall, Twinings introduced wellness teas, or “benefit-driven teas,” such as Soothe, which features turmeric and is meant to support digestion. The wellness lineup hits on trends such as self-care and people paying more attention to the benefits of the foods and drinks they consume, making them attractive to current tea drinkers and bringing in new ones. Wellness teas are growing at more than 10 percent and specialty herbal teas are growing nearly 10 percent, both far outpacing the low, single-digit growth rate in the overall tea category, Butler notes.

Twinings, owned by Associated British Foods, has a strong heritage but remains a relatively small player in the United States, where it is the No. 5 hot tea brand with a share of about 4.4 percent, according to Euromonitor International. Unilever’s Lipton, which has lost some share in recent years, still leads the market with an 11.5 percent share. U.S. sales of tea grew more than 9 percent over five years to hit $2.74 billion in 2018 and are expected to grow at a faster clip, with 2023 sales projected to be about $3.02 billion, Euromonitor says.

The creative work comes from Terri & Sandy, which Twinings hired as its first North American agency of record in 2018.

“Back in the 1700s when coffee was king, Thomas Twining started a tea company,” says Sandy Greenberg, co-founder & CEO, Terri & Sandy. “He was an entrepreneur in every sense of the word and basically made tea all the rage in England. So who better than Thomas to showcase the brand's British heritage and unparalleled quality?”

Levelwing is handling media; Twinings hired the digital agency last year, too.

Another spot promotes some of Twinings’ herbal teas. The Thomas Twining character says his future teas will use “delicious ingredients,” leading patrons to guess “fish bladder” and “cow udder.”


Apr 24, 2019
Client :
Agency :
Terri & Sandy
President & CEO :
Dan Martin
VP, Marketing :
Katie Butler
Senior Brand Manager :
Jessica Goodman
Senior Brand Manager :
Andrew Mallia
Director, Consumer & Market Insights :
Noni MacPherson
Co-Founder :
Terri Meyer
Co-Founder :
Sandy Greenberg
Creative Director, Copywriter :
Chris Cannon
Creative Director, Art Director :
JP Gomez
Senior Copywriter :
Natalia Davila
Senior Art Director :
Benita Antony
Integrated Account Director :
Drew Schwartz
Account Supervisor :
Dayo Ajayi
Integrated Producer :
Chris Lenz
Video Production Company :
Biscuit Filmworks
Director :
Clay Weiner
Partner/Managing Director :
Shawn Lacy
Executive Producer :
Holly Vega
Producer :
Shannon Barnes
Head of Production :
Mercedes Allen-Sarria
Head of Production :
Rachel Glaub
Director of Photography :
Adam Marsd
Tabletop Production Director :
Chris Simpson
Producer :
Matt Coogan
Producer :
Anyway Reps
Food Stylist :
Liza Jernow
Prop Stylist :
Maya Rossi
Editorial :
Cosmo Street
Editor :
Tom Scherma
Assistant Editor :
Jared Zygarlicke
Executive Producer :
Maura Woodward
Producer :
Paolo Solarte
Mix :
Sound Lounge
Audio Mixer :
Tom Jucarone
Audio Mixer :
Seth Phillips
Head of Production :
Liana Rosenberg
Producer :
Becca Falborn
Producer :
Lauren Mullen
Flame Artist :
Tim Miller
Finishing Producer :
Juan Jose Handal
Out of the Blue
Digital Colorist :
Scott Burch
Assistant Colorist :
Courtney Feemster
Post Producer :
Steve Bodner

Need a credit fix? Contact the Creativity Editors

Project Type