How We Opened Up a New World of Tea for Celestial Seasonings

Designing unique worlds inspired by the packs

In tough times, there is nothing more comforting than a cup of tea. (And we are definitely in tough times.)

But these days, comfort alone isn't enough to keep us going. Consumers are seeking out functional benefits and active ingredients to help bump up their immunity, boost energy and calm down after a stressful day.

Recognizing this, Celestial Seasonings developed a range of new innovations addressing these needs—like Energy Green Tea, with as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, or TeaWell Sleep, the first tea with melatonin in it—all while using the same herbs and botanicals their well-loved herbal offerings are known for.

They asked us to develop a new campaign to support these innovations, and to contemporize the brand overall in the eyes of consumers. So, how do you create a campaign that encompasses such different drivers, ingredients and benefits and speaks to a whole range of herbal teas?

At Deutsch NY, we turned to something integral to the brand itself—the packaging artwork. Everyone knows the Sleepytime bear in his sleeping cap. The iconic artwork speaks to the brand's Boulder roots, its dedication to ingredients, and the artistic spirit that runs through it today.

Designing Our New Worlds

We started with a key frame for each product and designed unique worlds inspired by the packs—aligning on the colors, textures, background, characters and tone before begining animation.

Celestial Seasonings - Good Energy

Vitamin C Shine, my favorite tea, has an energetically fun pack—a rooster playing a trumpet and greeting an orange slice sunrise. We modernized the visuals without losing what made them great, landing on a textured layered-paper approach that cued tea boxes and tea bags—our first taste of seeing what this could become.

Opening Them Up

Next, we entered the pre-visualization stage—developing 2-D animatics that would become the "script" for 3-D animation. Rendered in shades of gray, it was important to set expectations on what was being seen, and what we were looking to have approved.

Celestial Seasonings - Good Morning

Even with "unpainted" visuals, it was an opportunity to surprise and delight—for example, the small birds on the Vitamin C Shine pack were added and now float through the sky in a hot-air balloon made of tea cups. Aligning on different elements and movements allowed us to expand beyond the single keyframe, eliminating time-consuming changes in 3-D animation.

Bringing Them to Life

The final stage was fully fleshing out the worlds in Cinema 4D. This meant coloring the approved creative and adding texture—from the explosion of light coming from the open Vitamin C Shine pack at the beginning of the spot to the morning sun filtering over green shaded mountains in the background later on. 

Celestial Seasonings - Sleepytime

To make the whole world feel immersive, we layered in sound design, focusing on sounds like the rustle of grass and the thud of fresh oranges as they rolled out of the packaging.

Each of the worlds created ends with a trip back to reality, with a person sipping a cup of piping hot tea. It's the only time Covid impacted production, as the footage was captured via an unsupervised shoot. But even though we've left the world of Celestial Seasonings for the hectic real world, you can tell it's now a little happier.

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