Barry's Tea 2020 Campaign 'Sisters'

Barry's Tea wanted a fresh new TV campaign to take Ireland's most beloved tea brand into the 2020s. Thinkhouse created the new TV ad 'Sisters', the brand's first ad in three years. The script is based on the true-life story of two sisters Nora and Gina who, though separated by the Atlantic Ocean, still find time to share a cup of Barry's Tea and a chat (via FaceTime).

The Creative Team at Thinkhouse collaborated with director Nick Kelly and Hinterland Films to bring this ambitious TVC to life.


Shot in Dublin and Brooklyn, New York, the ad is based on a true story of two sisters (Nora and Gina played by Stephanie McKeon and Ciara Berkley) - an older sister (Nora) who has a job in Dublin city and her younger sister (Gina), chasing her dream as an actress in New York.

The inspiration for the ad was born out of a deep understanding of contemporary life for young Irish women and how meaningful relationships matter so much, even when those relationships play out largely online, over long distances.

Separated by the Atlantic Ocean, the ad documents the struggles of a young, ambitious actress based in New York, and her busy, professional older sister who lives in Dublin. Despite their hectic life, the sisters always find time to catch up over a cup of Barry's Tea, albeit via Skype and WhatsApp. Captured in the ad, are the fun and meaningful moments that punctuate those struggles, concluding in a heartwarming climax, when Nora surprises her sister by showing up to the opening night of Gina’s play in Brooklyn.

The tagline for the new ad, ‘We Make The Tea. You Make The Moment’, was created by BBDO and inherited by THINKHOUSE. The new tag-line complements the classic, much loved Barry’s Tea taglines of the past - all of which centre around ‘moments’, and the role of Barry’s Tea within those moments.

For 'Sisters' Thinkhouse identified The Proclaimers pop hit ‘500 Miles’ as the perfect soundtrack to this emotional story and worked with Loud and Clear Music to produce a more minimalistic, contemporary version of the song performed by Fya Fox. Fya is an emerging pop singer/songwriter hailing from Armagh, with over 10 years classical vocal training. Fya is now working on her first 2020 single release.

Camille O’Flanagan, Barry’s Tea, said: “Tea is a well developed, much loved, category that is in growth across many areas. Our plans are to reinforce people’s loyalty and recruit younger tea drinkers to the brand, and advertising is an important way for us to achieve this. As a brand, we’re famous for the many memorable TV ads we’ve made over the years. With Sisters, we’ve made a contemporary ad that delivers a classic Barry’s Tea ‘moment’ in a way that resonates with, and feels relevant to, a new generation of Irish tea drinkers.”

An important aspect of this ad was maintaining what Barry’s Tea fans most love about the brand and ardent fans will notice echoes of Barry’s Tea’s 1997 ad which also featured two sisters in a New York setting.

This new TVC was supported by a PR campaign, a suite of social assets and a social ad buying campaign all handled by Thinkhouse. TV and Radio media buying was handled by OMD.

The campaign successfully delivered on the strategic and creative goals and resulted in great growth in key brand metrics, including sales.

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