Ian Darby: W&K's Tesco scoop is a triumph for creativity

By Ian Darby, campaignlive.co.uk, Thursday, 26 July 2012 08:00AM

"Nicking another bloke for looking at a pretty girl is no way to earn a living," the 26-year-old Buckinghamshire gunsmith Doug Maclean fumed after receiving a £60 fine for driving without due care and attention.

Ian Darby: W&K's Tesco scoop is a triumph for creativity

"The girl had a very nice backside and I wanted to check out her face to see if it was as nice as her figure. It's what practically every bloke on the planet would do."

Over at the London 2012 Olympics, scaremongers have raised the prospect that the hotchpotch security team will be asked to "nick" sports fans for wearing non-official brands. Let's hope this is fantasy. It would be a grim turn of events if advertisers managed to contribute little more to the Games than tension at the turnstiles.

Brands should shoulder some of the blame. The ad content they have dished up (see page 17) looks, for the most part, unlikely to capture the public's imagination or impact on clients' businesses. It risks becoming merely a device to fill the coffers of the Olympic movement.

Back in the real world, though, Wieden & Kennedy's capture of the Tesco ad business involves a brand that realises that advertising can play an important part in improving its future. The agency's appointment is also a real triumph for the creative end of the agency spectrum - showing that an agency with creativity in its make-up can pitch for a massive account and win.

Other London shops should take heart from this but Tesco needs its advertising to work. The retailer, which appears to be wedded to its "every little helps" strapline, has been through a bad time of late, issuing its first profit warning in 20 years back in January, and its brand is a key asset in restoring its value at the heart of UK retailing.

The Shoreditch-based shop has experienced its own setbacks. W&K's loss of the global Nokia account last year forced it to make 10 per cent of its staff redundant. However, it continued to display quality in its work for the likes of Honda and Cravendale, so it's really heartening that the agency has won the Tesco business.

Now it just has to deliver. Sources close to the pitch suggest that it created the best "brand platform" for the retailer, but it will be no easy task for W&K. That said, while large retail accounts often eat up smaller shops, at least W&K can point to the success of its sister Portland agency in handling the Target retail account for more than six years before its recent parting. The agency also seems to have made sensible plans for the "heavy lifting" of the tactical Tesco advertising to be handled via a partnership, freeing it to focus on the lead strategy and creative.

We should all applaud W&K for winning Tesco and hope that it can deliver advertising that will really make a difference to the world. That would be a fine way to make a living.

Claire Beale is away.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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