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Yorkshire Tea paints a picture of perfection

June 2020

This is a self-funded case study using our Advertising Testing solution.

Yorkshire Tea recently celebrated going 100% carbon neutral with a “hot brew” and social video featuring their iconic packaging undergoing an overhaul – reflecting the brand’s newly-achieved eco-friendly status.

But in the age of greenwashing, Yorkshire Tea went about its business in the typically understated and authentic way the Northern England county is famous for.

While this approach has made it the incredibly personable brand it is today, will making light of other brands’ more serious attempts to promote their social initiatives backfire? To find out the answer, we put the video to UK tea consumers.

We take our tea with three C’s to assess creative effectiveness:

  • Captivate: Does it attract and retain attention, and engage in an emotional way?
  • Connect: Is the brand instantly recognisable?
  • Compel: Does it leave people with a lasting impression about the brand?


Underpinning the video’s strength was its fresh, down-to-earth and “no bullshit” approach. Avoiding the usual fanfare associated with brands doing good deeds, Yorkshire Tea involved the original illustrator of the idyllic countryside featured on the brand’s packaging – Andrew Hutchinson.

The entire film took place in front of his easel – while unassuming at first, Andrew’s humorous quips and contemplative expressions drew viewers into the story.

As the painting of the Yorkshire countryside was progressively updated to be more eco-savvy, viewer involvement grew, with people eager to find out where all the amusing witticisms would lead.


Building the entire narrative around the artwork featured on the packaging ensured nobody could forget it was for Yorkshire Tea, with almost half of viewers spontaneously recalling the brand from the painting.

In addition, the video built on the successes of previous campaigns, deploying the distinctive Yorkshire accent and tongue-in-cheek humour which have come to define the brand.


Leveraging established ‘green’ devices proved highly effective, working hand-in-hand with the artist’s commentary to bring the message to life in a creative and memorable way.

Building the entire story around the brand’s commitment to going ‘100% Carbon Neutral’ cemented this idea in viewers’ minds, with people consistently taking away that Yorkshire Tea is a ‘caring’ and ‘environmentally conscious’ brand.

Highlighting the brand’s connection to the tight-knit Yorkshire community also worked to reinforce its positioning as a ‘traditional’ and quintessentially ‘British’ brand.


The one and only criticism of this highly effective piece of creative is that, sadly, the population at large will never see it.

While broadcast TV audiences aren’t what they used to be, the reach and engagement offered by the big-screen still dwarfs digital-only channels – and the ‘100% Carbon Neutral’ video is only currently scheduled to appear online.

We think Yorkshire Tea would be missing out on a tremendous opportunity by not airing the video to a national audience, particularly given the ease in which it could be adapted for TV.

If Yorkshire Tea decides to condense the video into a shorter spot for TV, we recommend focussing on the scenes which people connect most fluently to the renewables’ movement – the electric car, wind turbines, solar panels, and reusable cups. This will ensure engagement levels remain at their peak, while the impact of messaging is maximised.

Yorkshire Tea Video Content Advertising Testing

We were supported by leading market research technology platform Cint to collect data from respondents in the UK.

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