The Typhoo Tea ad photos
“These pictures were taken as an advertisement for Ty-Phoo Tea. Each Beatle had to shape a different letter for Ty-Phoo. We had to do it over and over until they got it right.” – Dezo Hoffmann
Typhoo Tea Limited goes back to 1903 when Birmingham grocer John Sumner developed and sold a blend of tea in his shop. John’s sister, Mary, was the inspiration behind the product development, as she highly regarded tea as a cure for indigestion.
Over the years, the Typhoo business has developed from being the first brand to sell ready packaged tea, to being a leading tea business that now offers products in every sector of the tea market.
Paul McCartney has been telling stories of him and John skipping school to stay at his place, writing songs and smoking Typhoo tea.
“I remember writing our first songs together. We used to go to my house, my dad’s home, and we used to smoke Typhoo tea with the pipe my dad kept in a drawer. It didn’t do much for us but it got us on the road.” [McCartney’s induction speech for John Lennon, Rock’n’roll Hall of Fame, 1994]
By the mid 1960s, Typhoo was annually packing more than 80 million pounds of tea and exporting to 40 countries worldwide.
22-27 July 1963, The Beatles were performing a series of concerts in Weston-Super-Mare, and photographer Dezo Hoffmann spent one of these six days with the Beatles, taking photographs and colour (mute) 8mm home-movies of the group at their hotel and on location on the beach at nearby Brean Down, where they dressed in Victorian bathing-costumes and also went go-karting” [Lewisohn, The Complete Beatles Chronicle, p. 117].
John C Winn concludes that the day at the beach was on the 27th. Also after these photos, the Beatles returned to the hotel to shoot a series of photos to advertise Typhoo tea. Now dressed in suits, each Beatle is seen attempting to spell out the letters of the product’s name, and jumping from a staircase railing [Winn, Way Beyond Compare, p. 67-68].
Although these pictures exist (Ringo’s was provided to us by Guus Limberger, initially we didn’t have one of him), I haven’t been able to find any Typhoo tea advertisements that actually made use of them.
On 31 October 2005 Apeejay Surrendra Group, one of India’s largest tea producers, acquired Typhoo and its associated brands.
This colour image from a silent film in the Dezo Hoffmann collection, alongside action shots of the other Beatles jumping for their poses has been used in several DVD releases and on at least one promo film.