Ad of the Day: Twinings

Another unknown indie singer makes her ad debut. But is it as authentic as it sounds?

Music is so key to so many commercials these days—it's often literally the centerpiece. When it comes to indie artists, there's a formula to it. Find an undiscovered singer with a single striking track, build a spot around it, and partner with the artist for promotions. The singer gets exposure; the brand gets a measure of authenticity and coolness.

Target's been doing it. Lowe's just started as well. And here's a good example from the U.K.—the new 60-second commercial for Twinings tea from AMV BBDO, Psyop, Smuggler, and most notably, the young unknown singer Charlene Soraia, whose new cover of the Calling's 2001 song "Wherever You Will Go" serves as the soundtrack. The spot shows a woman rowing on a stormy ocean, a metaphor for her hectic life. She's completely at sea, and things are looking grim—she loses one oar, then the other. But thankfully, Twinings intervenes. Or at least, some sea-foam birds do—carrying her rowboat out of the roiling surf and toward a calm shore, where the woman encounters a second, mellower version of herself on the sand. They embrace. "Twinings gets you back to you," says the copy.

The Psyop animation, led by creative director Kylie Matulick, is lovely and ethereal, almost watercolor like. But it's Soraia's track that stands out the most. It's rising in the U.K. charts entirely thanks to the ad; the brand is promoting sales of the song on iTunes; and Soraia is pushing the collaboration on her website. (Her debut album will be out next month.) Twinings even recorded a video of Soraia singing the song in the studio (see below).

A wonderful, authentic collaboration, right? Well, maybe. On Facebook, Soraia is already moderating expectations. "Glad you like the stuff," she writes to one fan. "My actual music is kinda different to the single thats out… cos… thats from an advert that i did for twinings… but… im glad you like it still… cos its my voice.. but… yknow…… im predominantly a guitarist really." In other words, the commercial is OK. But for some "actual music," come and see a show.

Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, U.K.
Executive Creative Director: Paul Brazier
Copywriter: Diane Leaver
Art Director: Simon Rice
Agency Planners: Bridget Angear, Michael Lee
Media Agency: Zenith Optimedia
Media Planner: Lucy Affleck
Production Company: Psyop / Smuggler
Director: Psyop
Psyop Creative Director: Kylie Matulick
Executive Producer: Neysa Horsburgh
Producers: Mark Knockles, Jenn Dewey, Amanda Miller, Hillary Thomas
Associate Producers: Minh Ly, Anu Nagaraj
3-D Lead: Kyle Cassidy
Animation Lead: Dan Vislocky
Compositing Leads: Danny Koenig, Julie Lenoble
Compositor: Cris Kong
Storyboards: Vinny Dellay, Josh Weisenfeld,
Storyboard Colorist: Danelle Davenport
Editorial: Brett Nicolletti
Lead Design: Paul Kim
Additional Design: Andrew Park, Georgia Tribuiani, Kenesha Sneed
Modeling and Texturing: Rie Ito, Ibtisam Ahmed
Rigging: Sean Kealey
Pre-Vis Animation: Blake Guest, Dan Vislocky
Animators: Dan Vislocky, Minor Gaytan, Chris Meek, Jacob Frey, Sashdy Arvelo, Yvain Gnabro, Todd Akita
3-D: Katie Yoon, David Chontos, David Barosin, Barry Kreigshauer, Hao Cui, Roman Kaelin, Eric Rosenthal, Andreas Berner
Rotoscoping: Stephen Holbrook
Water and Particle Effects: Kiel Gnebba, Wayne Hollingworth, Brian Alvarez
Cloth Effects: Victor Garza
2-D Animation: Song Kim, Dylan Spears, Melvina Wong, Kendra Ryan
Audio Postproduction: Grand Central
Audio Postproduction: Soundtree
Digital Design Company: Grand Union
Song: Wherever You Will Go / Charlene Soraia
PR Agency: Freud Communications