Coffee may get most of the hype, with its collection of concoctions and hipstified dispensaries, but for people who prefer the contemplative over the caffeinated, nothing beats a good cup of tea.
Bigelow Teas and Ideo decided to take that a step further with a new web series called While You Were Steeping that aims to see what artists can do in the time it takes their tea to steep. In the first installment, produced by Republic Content and directed by Bucky Fukumoto, artist Geoff McFetridge creates a delightful piece that goes beyond his sketch book in what appears to be a few smooth strokes of the brush.
Ideo associate partner Clark Scheffy says even before talking to him, McFetridge was in the agency’s first original pitch of the idea to the brand. After enlisting Fukumoto the odds of landing their first choice went way up. The director and artist attended Cal Arts together and are old friends.
McFetridge says he worked with the agency and Fukumoto very closely to make sure it was a good fit and revolved around his strengths. “I drew a few rough sketches before but basically did it all from the top of my head,” says McFetridge. “It came out of discussions about my liking to draw under pressure. I find that what is created under pressure is interesting, and it focuses me. I’m more inclined to make work that has resonance if there is some consequence. I like to work in forms where you can’t go back … only forward.”
Scheffy says the idea came about during a re-evaluation of the brand strategy over the last couple of years that has resulted in new packaging, logo and identity to reflect its sense of craft and attention to quality. “On that journey we also discovered that the moment of steeping and crafting one’s own cup of tea can be be off-putting for potential tea drinkers in a world of abundant instant-gratification coffee options,” says Scheffy. “So we asked two things, how might we elevate that story of craft in Bigelow’s product? And how might we help people get personal and comfortable with steeping?”
The next installment is expected in the next eight weeks and the agency is hoping to create about four short films a year. Scheffy will only hint at who the second short will feature. “Our next film will be from a musical artist exploring how she sketches in a range of media that all aggregate in her musical expression,” he says, before putting a call out to potential candidates. “Future concepts are all over the place. If you are a creative person, reach out to us! Let’s chat.”