Saturday, 28 December 2013

90s adverts: Ribena, Tetley and Vitalite

A look back at a few of the characters from advertising campaigns gone by; I believe that all of these adverts are from the nineties. First off, the Ribena blackcurrants (I found surprisingly little coverage of these characters online, you know) introduce us to new, non-blackcurrant flavours.

Next we have the best-known of Wyatt-Cattaneo's creations: the Tetley Tea Folk. This advert is designed to promote the new development of circular tea bags by showing us how square tea bags merely lead to a harsh, angular dystopia.

Finally, the Vitalite Sun. This character originated in the eighties, but this must be a later advert - witness the flashier designs, not to mention a change in sunglasses.


  1. Nice memories...
    the ribenna always went wahoo! at the end...

  2. Although the Tetley Tea Folk were, as you say, originated by Wyatt-Cattaneo, the change from square to round bags took place between 1989-1990, by which time the advertising account had moved agencies, from Geers Gross to D'arcy MacMannus, and the animation was now being done by Richard Ollive Animation.

    The same thing is true for the Ribena blackcurrants - they were originally animated by Wyatt-Cattaneo, but in the 90s Richard Ollive took over, and I think this advert is also his.

    The original Vitalite Sun was animated by Uli Meyer, was a much simpler design, and the animation carried the song and dialoguue perfectly. The subsequent commercials seem over-designed and over-animated (to the point of messiness) losing the characterization of the original. Still a very memorable ad series, though.

    1. Thanks for the information - it's always good to know the names behind these things.

  3. Just noticed this! Thank you for the mention. Both of these examples are mine - the Tetley made at Wyatt Cattaneo whilst Tony was in the process of retiring. I set up Richard Ollive Animation at the end of 1993, and both Ribena and Tetley were directed and animated by me from then until CGI overtook them! (I drew the animation for the revived Tetley Tea Folk in 2010/11 as well)
    These characters weren't my only work. Amongst other things I made two TV series for the BBC, a TV feature, a short film etc and also worked quite extensively as an illustrator.
    If anyone is interested, there's more information at


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