Sir Patrick Stewart Does Yorkshire Tea Proud

Sir Patrick Stewart Does Yorkshire Tea Proud


A lot of the time when we talk about Fluent Devices the emphasis is on recurring characters who audiences grow to love, like Compare The Market’s Meerkats. But there’s a second type of Fluent Device which is also extremely effective – the “scenario” Fluent Device. These are repeating scenarios which tend to share a punchline or slogan rather than always featuring the same character. Specsavers’ “Should’ve Gone To Specsavers” is a great example – everything changes with each new ad but the basic idea and joke are the same.

Yorkshire Tea’s “Where Everything’s Done Proper” is another excellent scenario Fluent Device, taking viewers into a fictionalised version of the Tea brand’s HQ, in which top Yorkshire celebrities get to perform comically exaggerated versions of banal office rituals. It’s an approach which shares some DNA with classic scenario campaigns of the past – for instance the “Carlsberg Don’t Do… But If They Did…” beer ads of the 1990s. But Yorkshire Tea’s ads have a charm all their own.

A previous entry in the series, “Induction”, where Sean Bean gave a martial motivational speech to staff, featured heavily in Orlando Wood’s Look Out book published last year by the IPA. Look Out explored how elements which appeal to our right brains, like humour and human ‘betweenness’, helped grab attention and make ads more effective. Yorkshire Tea’s campaign is a showcase for these kind of elements in advertising, and the new “Tina’s Leaving Do” ad continues the tradition.

Once again the ad stars a legendary Yorkshireman, Sir Patrick Stewart, giving a scenery-chewing Picard-style performance at an employee’s leaving celebration. The ad revels in its bombast, but is sure to puncture it at the end with Stewart slipping into his Yorkshire accent to invite everyone down the pub. It’s a strong way to end the ad as it provides a jump in happiness for the audience just as they’d got used to the concept as a whole.

The ad rates 3.9-Stars – a good score, just on the cusp of 4-Stars. It excels in short-term activation though, with an Exceptional short-term Spike score and a very strong Brand Fluency ad – scenario Fluent Devices do an excellent job of reminding people of a brand.

Yorkshire Tea have a trickier line to walk with their scenario ads than you might think. Regional pride is a huge asset for the brand and a point of distinction – but it’s easy for it to come across as alienating in communications. “Where Everything’s Done Proper” gets the balance between warmth, genuine pride and a bit of self-mockery exactly right. It’s no wonder celebrities love appearing in the ads, with Sir Patrick Stewart calling his appearance a “career highlight”. A bit of an exaggeration? Sure. But all very much in the spirit of the ad!