Bigelow Tea Putting Face to Brand… But Nobody Will See It

Chris Brogan uses this Bigelow Tea example (see video below) of how to “put a face to a brand.” He’s right.. In just a few seconds, you’ll think differently of Bigelow, and it might change your behavior when you confront dozens of choices of tea (many with more exotic packaging and higher price points). BUT you won’t likely see this video unless you work for Bigelow, or read Brogan’s or my blog. 

Who wants to subscribe to a branded “Bigelow” YouTube page? Who’s going to send a friend this promotion for Bigelow (unless maybe they’re in the video)?

What if we started with this same video, and made a few changes. We’d have to argue with Bigelow’s CEO and marketing advisors, but if we won the video would have exponentially more impact.

  1. Instead of just having Bigelow CEO (Cindi Bigelow), lets’ put her with a prominent YouTube star. Then compensate the star, and have them post it on their already popular channel… now it’s good for 20-100K views almost guaranteed. 
  2. Let’s make it more entertaining even if you don’t care about tea or the brand. More “candid camera” moments… awkward, funny, interesting. The playful construction guys makes for an interesting ad or corporate video, but a luke-warm piece of voluntary entertainment. 
  3. Let’s cap it at 2 minutes… it’s too long for a promotional video.
  4. Dial down the Bigelow… If it was less about Bigelow and more about something less self-serving then its chances of traveling are far higher… perhaps we see a tea-versus-coffee debate (featuring angry New Yorkers arguing about the finer beverage). Tea’s best chance of growth is at the expense of coffee, and Bigelow’s tide will rise with the tide if it helps that happen.
  5. Bottom line- if I was marketing Bigelow I’d rather 50,000 people be exposed to a great video where Bigelow was subtly mentioned, rather than 500 people seeing a video that differentiates my brand, pitches the quality, and promotes the family heritage. Unless Bigelow tosses $50,000 of media behind this video, Cindi’s persuasion may not go further than friends and family of the company.

14 Replies to “Bigelow Tea Putting Face to Brand… But Nobody Will See It”

  1. You’re right, of course. I’m glad for this first effort, but you’re right that the next steps are as prescribed.

  2. Snob alert!
    I don’t like Bigelow tea, it’s a stale flat brand. I did notice that the only comparison Cindi made was to Lipton, which is even more stale; hot water tastes better, but it’s clear who they are chasing, Lipton is the tea market king and easy pickings. Who hasn’t gone into a repair garage, have a teacher or a grandmother with a box of Lipton on a grease counter, shoved in a drawer or on the pantry shelf just in case a tea drinker showed up?

    I’m not a tea drinker, if ever, mostly twig and strong. This half of the hemisphere is historically coffee driven and beholden to the Colombian Coffee cartel, but I have had encounters with a few hard core tea drinkers of late and what I’ve learned is that tea is the new art; step up to the tea bar at any WholeFoods and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

    Which is probably why Bigelow is sinking some money into advertising. It’s a good move in this economy, and if they want to be on the cutting edge among the plastic were-different-and better-than-old-tasteless-brand products, and as people downsize from the celestial and high priced rishi specialty teas paying You Tubers would be a bold move and grab the next generation of occasional tea drinkers.

    Despite the likings of my selective pallet for finer foods and beverages, here’s a plug for Nalts. Bigelow would be foolish not to hire him to sell their product, his viewership has the right demographic for the brand and as people cut back and start pushing their carts once again down local grocery store coffee and tea aisles they might just grab a box to put in the pantry for that occasional tea drinker.

    New question, I’m starting a top 10 list – Why are brands afraid to hire popular You Tubers to promote their products in a Post Michel Phelps era?

    Feel free to elaborate, I’ll start, no particular order.
    #1. The F bomb.

  3. Ironically, my favorite brand of bigelow tea was discontinued last year. They actually sent me an email to let me know they were discontinuing it so I could order more online until their inventory was exhausted. I ordered six boses. I don’t know what I’ll do when I run out. It’s good for settling your stomach when you’re kind of nauseous.

    I do not care if I spelled nauseous wrong. The spelling nazi is too busy with her school thing this weekend to read this blog.

  4. P.S. why are you such a windbag today? This is the most posts in one day i’ve seen from you in a long time. How about devoting some of that time to doing something you’re actually good at?

    Oh wait, I forgot. Your videos suck too.

  5. Jan- Holy cow. Every once in a while I forget you’re a marketer and economist. That was dead on. Tea is the new art. It’s lower caffeine and actually good for you in a variety of ways. Plus it is more visceral- taste, touch, scent, site. Black water doesn’t have the intrigue, and tea (outside lame tea bags) you make yourself.

    Speaking of lame tea bags, Sukatra, what the hell tea made you buy six boxes (or boses, as Maryland would say)?

  6. Yeah, this video lost me at 1:20. But I checked our cupboards and I’ll be damned if there wasn’t a box of Bigelow Green Tea in there. I didn’t buy it and there’s no one else here but backwards, toothless rednecks. Weird.

    #2 The big ticket marketing houses are desperately trying to convince their clients that Youtubers are just a bunch of backwards, toothless rednecks (or sperm-handed flatulent-prone teenagers) and what brand wants THAT association?

  7. @ nalts

    Bigelow fruit and almond herbal tea. It’s great for when you eat too much, or you feel on the verge of nausea but not quite there, or just generally feel like shit. I’ve drunk it for years for just those reasons.

    It was hard to find even before they discontinued it so I used to order six boxes regularly over the internet. That’s how they knew how to contact me.

  8. Amen. Thanks Nalts. Right on the money. I often struggle with these same issues when dealing with my clients. As much as I try to explain their heavy-handiness in promoting their brand in the social spaces won’t work, they just don’t get it! They are so deeply invested in their brand, they feel the need to absolutely promote it at every level. Years and years they have been inundated with agencies (with well intentions) preaching to them the importance of brand-building (which is key), but they continue to talk ‘at’ the consumer and not “with” the consumer. We at the studio often gauge the inability to understand this simple concept by summing up the experience by mocking them (in private), “Make the logo bigger!” (and i think there is a song spoofing this somewhere). Great first effort by Bigelow. You gotta give them credit for trying. As I have found with my clients, it will take baby steps before they’re willing to let go of the “Make the logo bigger” mentality.

  9. I love Bigelow teas, regardless of what Jan said. My personal favorite is Constant Comment, but I also like Earl Grey, English Breakfast and Lemon Lift. Lemon Lift is great when you are not feeling well. I never tried that fruit & almond tea you mentioned, sukatra and now I wish I had.

    BTW, Odyssey of the Mind is done for another year and we didn’t place this year. Not sure where we were in the rankings as they haven’t been posted yet, but we didn’t come in 1st, 2nd or 3rd. Oh well, there’s always next year. :-0

  10. Spot on, Kev… My only challenge is on point #5… It depends on what the marketers decided the purpose of the video was… If the video was distributed in a place where a higher percentage of those 500 viewers were passionate about tea, and thus more likely to buy Bigelow tea, as opposed to 50,000 HappySlip viewers who are just “in the way” when the Bigelow message is fired off, then isn’t that money better spent?

    Where’s the middle ground of online video between ‘Kid at the Dentist’ and helping Brands move some product by letting them speak to their passionate audience in a more intimate arena?

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