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