A new campaign for Yorkshire Tea embraces the summer with a brilliantly catchy tune that celebrates the thing all Brits hold close to their hearts, wherever they are in the world; tea.

Created by Lucky Generals and directed by Blink's Fred Rowson, The Tea Song campaign is a two-and-a-half-minute celebration of Yorkshire Tea and of one young man's inability to go on holiday without access to his favourite brew. 

Yorkshire Tea – The Tea Song

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The track, called Pack Yer Bags, was created in association with independent record label Ninja Tune and singer, songwriter, producer and DJ Laura Bettinson, and is packed full of puns to create not just a genuinely catchy song, but a hugely funny one, too.

“My favourite ads are the ones that get really, really specific about some small detail of life, and blow it up into something epic," said Rowson. "And the creatives at Lucky Generals absolutely nailed that in this spot. From the client to the creatives to my HoDs and cast, we were all on the same page about how good this could be, so this has been one of the most fun experiences I've had in commercials.”

Below, Lucky Generals Creative Directors Nick Bird and Lee Smith, and director Fred Rowson explain a bit more about how the idea came together.

How and why did you come up with the idea of a track and music video for Yorkshire Tea? 

NB & LS: Yorkshire Tea has made a few songs in the past and they asked us to come up with the next one. The brief was to do something for the summer aimed at tea drinkers who are fed up with not being able to get a decent brew when they are abroad on their holidays. Something most of us are familiar with. The solution being Pack Yer Bags and take your Yorkshire Tea on holiday with you. All wrapped up in a lovely little summer banger. 

Tea drinking is not usually associated with teenagers; why did this feel like the right approach?

NB & LS: The song isn’t exclusively for young ’uns. We tried to create something that’ll stick in everyone's heads, as the best summer choons do. But yes, Yorkshire Tea does have a lot of love for the next generation of tea drinkers. But, hopefully, the message will resonate with people of all ages. 

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Above: Behind the scenes on Pack Yer Bags.

Why was Fred Rowson the best director for this job?  

NB & LS: We chose Fred because he had that music promo sensibility but with advertising chops too. A good combo for this spot. He really got that blend of the music promo and humour that we wanted.

Did you immediately know how you wanted to approach the script? 

FR: I think so! The song always told a bit of a story and the character felt so clear to me. The main challenge was that, tragically, we weren’t going to be shooting in Ibiza. So I had to think about how to shoot this in the constraints of a bedroom.

Did you look to other promos/commercials for any inspiration? 

I looked at classic music videos in the world of Hype Williams, and some more modern ones, like vids for Aitch and Slowthai, because I thought that this is how a young lad from Skipton might fantasise about his holiday. But, generally, I try to follow my nose and not get too distracted by what else is out there.

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Above: Images from the Pack Yer Bags shoot.

How did Ninja Tune get involved, and why were they a perfect partner for this? 

NB & LS: The last thing we wanted to do was make an ad parody of a summer banger. We wanted to make a genuinely decent song. So, we thought Ninja Tune was perfect. And, as soon as we heard Laura Bettinson’s (aka Lau.ra) ace music, we knew she was bang on. 

Humour has long been the approach for this brand; why is it the right approach for it? 

NB & LS: Apart, obviously, from the tea-making process, Yorkshire Tea doesn’t take itself too seriously. Humour is always a good way to cut through and engage. But for us, it has to be the right humour. Anything too slapstick is wrong. It has to have an element of reality in there too, for it to be credible. 

How long did it take - and how difficult was it - to come up with the lyrics? 

NB & LS: We came up with the ‘Pack yer bags’ message pretty early on in the process and put that in the brief. Then Will, the creative on this, came back in a few days with a demo which had us all rolling about on the floor. We had to find a sweet spot time-wise and after a bit of editing and shifting about with Sam Robson at No8, we got to a place that sounded great. 

Above: Lee Smith and Nick Bird, Creative Directors at Lucky Generals.

Can you tell us a bit about the casting? 

NB & LS: We wanted a loveable lad, obviously from Yorkshire, that your granny would love. We liked the idea that, in his mind, he was this big-time rap star, but with a touch of naivety thrown in. A bit of an old soul at heart.

FR: George - aka Alfie - is based up in Yorkshire. I found him the same way I find all my other cast, through Kharmel Cochrane, an amazing casting director who I’ve worked with for years. Kharmel and I always talk early on in the process and we can usually tell when someone’s going to be hard to find. I think we both anticipated this being a tricky one - casting late teens to early 20s is often tough - but, surprisingly, George’s was one of the first tapes I watched. It was him doing Eminem, and talking about how he likes to bring his own loo roll on holiday. I was sold. 

What was the most challenging part of creating this campaign? 

NB & LS: Nothing really challenging to be honest… it was a laugh from start to finish. 

FR: Other than convincing some lads to twerk in front of a teapot? Only joking. They didn’t need convincing. Honestly, everything flowed smoothly on this one. From the client to the crew, we were all aligned on what we wanted this to be and how funny it was. For my part, I just did a lot of planning and pre-visualisation to make all the jokes fit. That took some work.

What do you hope the campaign achieves? 

NB & LS: Holiday makers everywhere will be packing their bags with a proper brew from now on. It’s your best travelling companion.

FR: I hope it makes people laugh! Everyone loves a Yorkshire Tea ad. As a client they’ve earned their reputation for going with great ideas and they’re all really down to earth and get what people will like. Lucky Generals does some iconic work for them in return. It was great to be a part of that dynamic and I hope we’re keeping up the tradition!