Yorkshire Tea enlists celebs in biggest-ever campaign

Yorkshire Tea is rolling out a £7m celebrity-studded campaign that marks a creative shift in its advertising.

 The first work created by Lucky Generals, which won the advertising account last year, is Yorkshire Tea’s biggest-ever marketing push.

Dom Dwight, marketing director at Yorkshire Tea owner Taylors of Harrogate, said the campaign continues the brand’s strategy of "a belief in doing things properly" and shows that "we’ve become the most confident in pressing that point".

There are three spots featuring celebrities from Yorkshire taking on jobs in the brand’s factory. Olympic triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee work as couriers, veteran talk-show host Sir Michael Parkinson conducts job interviews and indie band Kaiser Chiefs perform live hold music for callers. 

Dwight claimed it was a "brave" and "ballsy" campaign because it subverts typical celebrity advertising. 

"The joke is that we’re throwing their celebrity away because they’re people who work for us," Dwight said. "This is hopefully our most attention-grabbing piece of work, with more humour and imagination – and a bit louder."

While the ads feature stars from the brand’s home, the campaign will likely evolve to include those who are not Yorkshire natives, Dwight added. 

The spots launch on Saturday during ITV’s The Voice and will be supported by PR, social and digital activity. They were directed by Si & Ad through Academy. Goodstuff Communications handles media planning and buying.

Yorkshire Tea has a 21.7% market share and is the third-biggest-selling tea brand in the UK after PG Tips and Tetley. Dwight said Yorkshire Tea has achieved this by building a passionate and loyal following. 

"People have become used to the fact that you can’t particularly rely on brands to do what they say," he said. "The reason we’ve got almost a cult-like following is we’ve stuck to that promise to provide a quality product and always do the right thing." 

Dwight’s tips for ‘ballsy’ advertising

Be authentic to the brand
"We were keen to not just use celebrities as a kind of gimmick to catch people’s eyes. If you use the celebrity approach, make sure it’s true to what the brand is about and not an artificial layer of fame." 

Get stakeholder buy-in early
"We focused on getting that internal buy-in organised quickly at the start so when we got into the process, we weren’t slowing ourselves down." 

Build a strong relationship
"It’s ultimately about the relationship between the client and agency. We got to a good place with Lucky Generals where we could be honest with each other but also challenge each other. There were no delays caused by a lack of transparency." 

Follow your gut instinct
"We had to trust our gut and have a degree of faith that the idea would work."