Celestial Seasonings Invests In Paid Media To Shift Tea Sentiment

steepingWhen Celestial Seasonings first redesigned its iconic packaging last summer to attract more millennial tea drinkers, it didn’t go over well.

Although the Boulder, Colo.-based tea brand had invested in promotional and brand marketing to reinforce its new brand look, loyal customers weren’t having it.

After engaging in consumer studies – and gathering consumer feedback from social channels directly – the brand knew it had to reinforce its position in a specialty tea category saturated with competitors such as Bigelow, Twinings and Tazo.

That meant reverting back to its classic packaging, debuting five new flavors and resurrecting an old fan favorite, Almond Sunset, due to customer demand.

To support those efforts, Celestial Seasonings just kicked off a digital campaign called “The Magic Of Tea” to increase brand awareness, grow sales and stir new household penetration.

The new campaign underscores how marketing and consumer perception must be inseparable for Celestial Seasonings, which has sold popular herbal blends like SleepyTime and Red Zinger since 1969.

“The engagement we have with consumers comes in many different formats,” said David Ziegert, GM of Celestial Seasonings. “We want to stay close to consumer perception to best manage our brand and exceed their expectations and one way we do that is by digitally engaging with them through social channels.”

In addition to the owned and earned media chatter it attracts organically on social, the “Magic of Tea” campaign combines banner and video ads on a variety of sites, including CelestialSeasonings.com, Facebook, AllRecipes, Better Homes & Gardens, AOL and Weather. 

Although a target “tea drinker” spans many demographics, Ziegert said the brand works with IPG-owned agency R/GA to determine which channels to activate to reach varying segments of Celestial Seasonings users.

For this campaign, Celestial Seasonings wanted to achieve wide reach via Facebook and identify audiences on key publishers that were contextually relevant to its campaign goals. It began with banner ads before R/GA created a series of animated videos.

“We are absolutely looking at this from a holistic perspective, so we want to ensure the decisions we make are founded and rooted in fact and data,” Ziegert said. “We realized it was important to use different vehicles, which do more when they’re activated collectively than in isolation.”

In a couple of weeks, the brand will also kick off an experiential marketing event to drive offline engagement, potentially targeting 140,000 of its most loyal purchasers who visit its facilities each year through organized tours.

“With our agency’s help, we’ll keep evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of each of these executions,” Ziegert said. “It’s going to be an iterative process for us.”


Correction: R/GA is an Interpublic Group company, not Merkle as originally stated.

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