Celestial Seasons Perks Up Packaging, Moves Into ... Coffee?

Celestial Seasonings, the Boulder, Colo.-based tea maker that staked its corner of the market as the un-caffeine, is moving into--let's all breathe--coffee. The brand, known for herbaceous/citric blends of tea with whimsical names and colorful boxes adorned with New Age art and anecdotes, is rolling out a line of organic, gourmet whole bean coffees.

The effort is part of a global rebranding--the company's first in its 40-plus-year history--that includes new packaging and a revamped logo. While the new boxes still have the wildly colorful artwork and the quotes, the new packaging will be more focused on what's inside the box and is meant to reflect a new brand theme, "tantalizing adventures for the senses."

"We did extensive quantitative and qualitative research and found that we weren't emphasizing key elements, and that was causing some confusion," says David Ziegert, acting general manager.

Ziegert tells Marketing Daily that in addition to emphasizing the logo, the flavor name for each tea is now on the same spot on every package--the top--with modernized artwork that emphasizes the flavors. Ingredients get top billing, with depictions of berries and herbs supplanting gods, heroes and other mythic images. Packaging for Raspberry Zinger tea, will, for example, show raspberries springing from the ocean. Honey Lemon Ginseng Green Tea will swap out the warrior for lemons and honey flowing down a river. Chamomile tea will swap out the lady in pink for chamomile flowers.



"Everything goes back to the cornerstone message: From marketing campaigns and new-product initiatives to every box, it's about tantalizing adventures for the senses," he says. "Taste is relevant but so is visual appeal."

Ziegert says a print advertising and point-of-purchase effort begins next month with ads slated for wellness and lifestyle books like Real Simple, Prevention, Food and Wine and Natural Health. In-store programs include product samplings, brochures and displays.

There's also a program with Curves Health and Fitness, a global franchise. At the health club for women, Celestial will distribute one million samples and brochures explaining the redesign and emphasizing that the tea isn't changing.

The company's expansion into coffees will initially comprise five SKUs: Morning Thunder, Decaf Morning Thunder, Fresh Roastaroma, Caramel Mocha and Vanilla Hazelnut, which Ziegert says will be USDA-Certified Organic and Fair Trade-Certified. They will be on sale this fall with suggested price of $10. The launch will be supported by PR, point of purchase, coupons and a dedicated Web site, celestialseasoningscoffee.com.

Ziegert says that the coffee program will not undermine the brand's established position in herbal non-caffeinated teas, a category it created and popularized in the U.S. "I think what we have found and what we know to be true is [that] it's a great opportunity. Celestial Seasonings is closely affiliated with decaffeinated teas, but we are perceived as leader and innovator in the hot brewed beverages. When we have done the research and spoken to consumers, there are a lot of tea drinkers who also drink coffee. It is a very easy bridge to build to leverage the brand into the [coffee] market," he says.

He adds that Celestial's point of differentiation will be that all five SKUs will be organic and fair trade-certified and also shade grown, which preserves surrounding habitats. And the packaging will be in 12-ounce resealable bags.

He says distribution, starting late October, will be in mass, natural food and specialty stores where coffee is found, supported by consumer initiatives.

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