Behind The Scenes: Making the ecoffee Video

Thursday, 08 July 2010

Zeta’s ‘Behind The Scenes’ series is something we have just started, and what a project we have to start with – the ecoffee video!

Rogers Estate Coffees is the UK subsidiary of Rogers Family Company – a coffee roaster from San Francisco, USA. As one of our longest standing clients at Zeta we absolutely love working with them.


Challenges and Considerations

Rogers Estate Coffees came to us with a product – ecoffee. The brand and the packaging had been developed by branding agency Red Brick Road. Zeta worked closely with the team at Red Brick Road to understand the brand attributes and personality which had already been assigned.

It was clear that we needed to make a strong powerful statement to showcase the brand’s credentials online. The story of ecoffee has a real narrative journey – from where and how the coffee farms are set up, to how green coffee beans are sourced right through to the packaging and distribution of the coffee here in the UK. We needed to get across the complex but important brand story in a short amount of time to keep users engaged, interested and keen to find out more.

Showcasing the brand story

With a plethora of information to convey in a short time space, whilst in parallel keeping users engaged and interested, the Zeta team decided a motion video would be the most innovative way to achieve this.

In this modern day of screen based media, motion and animation is used greatly to portray messages, meanings and stories quickly. Across a range of different media, from film title sequences, TV advertising and interactive web applications – motion brings together creative excellence with marketing engagement resulting in a medium that power punches all the right messages.

The first step was to condense the brand story down. Cutting down the mass of information to the absolute core of the brand was quite a challenge, but essential to create that emotional connection with consumers.

In short, ecoffee is organic, rainforest alliance certified and socially responsible. These key messages needed to be represented. The Zeta editorial and creative teams worked hard to cherry pick the key brand messages and put together a short narrative story to communicate these whilst incorporating some of ecoffee’s amazing achievements.

While Aimee Carmichael worked on the story content I (Aswad Charles) sketched out hand drawn illustrations to complement the narrative. Inspired by ecoffee’s green and brown credentials which were introduced to the brand by Red Brick Road, Aimee created the starting line for the story “Your coffee can be black or white, but is it green and brown?” This line allowed me to experiment with various different ideas and sketches and to narrow these down into a style I felt best represented the message.



So after various different sketches, I maintained the concept of “natural” and “organic” in a hand drawn sketch style based around the ecoffee type face. Zeta also produced some research into the target market which helped with direction. The video needed to have an earthy look and impersonate the eco friendly feel of ecoffee.

Everything about ecoffee is pure and the brand is proud to be able to control the coffee roasting process from start to finish. We wanted to mimic this in our design approach so it was decided that we would create our own alphabet. The alphabet would appear to have the realism of being hand drawn in its rawest state.

Testing was an important determinant in creating the video. Choices of fonts, colour schemes, illustration styles were put through various audits in order to create the perfect combination. Each letter contained three elements to make up the final shape. When the three elements are processed together as one, a smooth transition is made showing exactly how three dimensional typographic characters are created. The letters are based on the type face used in the ads and packaging created by Red Brick Road.


To complement the typographic style I illustrated objects to be used at key moments in the narration. These were illustrations which best represent the care for wildlife, social improvements made to the farming areas and of course the great tasting coffee.

The illustrative combination of type and key objects were working well together but as with all motion projects we were lacking the emotional ‘glue’ that is audio. From that moment a voice over was sourced quickly. The voice over would read out the ecoffee narrative over the visuals, but we needed a sound track to really strike an emotional bond with viewers – something that would take viewers on a journey back to the roots of ecoffee.

Fabian Velez

After many heated discussions we agreed on trying to source an independent South American artist for the sound track. Two weeks later and everyone at Zeta was dancing the tango – we found Fabian Velez ( on MySpace. Columbian born Fabian moved to London five years ago as a student and an aspiring musician in his spare time. As soon as we heard his song “Heme Aqui” (behold here I am) we knew that was the one. Whilst Heme Aqui was the perfect song, we needed an instrumental-only track to ensure the voice over could be heard and understood. The team put this forward to Fabian and he was only too happy to help us, recording a bespoke version of the track exclusively for ecoffee. Visit Fabian’s MySpace profile to listen to all of his songs.

So we had the ecoffee credentials turned into narrative, created our own alphabet and illustrative objects and found a beautiful soundtrack all in two months. Not bad!

To see the final video watch the clip below.

eCoffee – Is Your Coffee Green and Brown? from ecoffee on Vimeo.