Adwatch and Webwatch (April 25 ) Top 20 recall: Tesco

Chain's '£5 off £40' offer ignores its fundamental strategic problems

Tesco offer translates as 'give us your weekly shop, and we'll give you a fiver'
Tesco offer translates as 'give us your weekly shop, and we'll give you a fiver'

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There isn't a more fascinating, complex issue in marketing at present than Tesco. Particularly for those of us who work in the sector - we handle the Morrisons account.

This Tesco ad showcases the latest offer sweeping the sector, '£5 off £40', which basically means 'give us your weekly shop, and we'll give you a fiver'.

This ad is representative of most of Tesco's advertising for the past two or three years. Some kind of themed price-cutting campaign or offer mechanic, hoping to attract this week's floating footfall.

If consumers can be bought this easily, however, even accepting the cash-strapped times we live in, what does this say about loyalty and the lack of difference between supermarkets? Or, put another way, is the '£110m advertising review', really an ad review, or a marketing one?

Tesco's chief executive, Philip Clarke, talks about running the stores 'too hot' and making them friendlier, as if Tesco's woes can all be solved by operational improvements. What is missing is any sense of strategic marketing. I humbly suggest the following might merit consideration.

First, what's the role for such a dominant market leader? Tesco leapfrogged 'food-focused' Sainsbury's by redefining 'super-market' to mean 'all of your weekly shop and more under one roof', but what does it mean now?

How does talk of Amazon-style ecommerce platforms for Tesco Direct, and format proliferation on the high street, chime with consumers' re-awakened yearning for specialisation and provenance?

Second, if 'running the stores too hot' is a euphemism for 'milking them', what is the opposite? Internet guru Tim O'Reilly, in an inspirational SXSW speech, distinguished between companies that seek to 'capture' value and those that strive to 'create' value, which he defines as 'trying to improve people's lives'. Tesco's halcyon marketing era was about the latter - creches, extra checkouts, mother-and-baby parking - encapsulated in 'Every little helps'. What does that line mean now?

Third, how do you mitigate 'big'? Why does Tesco's market share bedevil it in a way that McDonald's doesn't?

Fourth, how attractive is the homogeneity systemic to Tesco? Can it learn from the diversity of retail experiences that Starbucks is introducing across its estate?

Fifth, in our retail-obsessed society, how helpful is it to talk about 'maximising share of customer wallets over their lifetime' or, 'accounting for £1 in every £7 spent' by British consumers?

Brand strategy verdict: 1 out of 10

'£5 off £40' is designed, and used, to mask the absence of a brand strategy.

Adwatch: Top 20 recall
Latest Apr-18 Brand Agency/TV Buyer Recall
rank       %
1 (–) Comparethe


2 (11=) Sky  WCRS/
3 (–) Boots  Mother/OMD UK 40
4= (–) OXO  Dare/Starcom 39
4= (–) DFS  Krow/MediaCom 39
4= (–) Cadbury
Creme Egg
Fallon London/PHD 39
7= -3 Aldi  McCann Erickson
McCann Manchester
7= (–) Tesco  The Red Brick Road/Initiative 37
7= (–) Huggies 

Ogilvy & Mather

10 (–) B&Q  McCann Erickson/
11 (-) ASDA  Saatchi & Saatchi/Carat 34
12 -17 Currys &
PC World
M&C Saatchi/
Walker Media
13 (-) Tropicana  Juniper Park/
14 (-) Haribo  Quiet Storm/
Walker Media
15= -6 McDonalds  Leo Burnett/OMD UK 30
15= (-) KFC  BBH/Walker Media -
17 (25=) The
TBWA Manchester/
PHD Rocket
18= (13=) Homebase  Leo Burnett/Mindshare 25
18= (-) TK Maxx  In-house/Mindshare 25
18= (-) Purina
(Gourmet Gold)
DDB UK/Mindshare 25



Webwatch: Top 20 recall
Latest 28-Mar Brand Agency/TV Buyer Recall
rank       %
1 -3 Virgin Media  DDB London,
2 (–) Asda  Gratterpalm/Carat 30
3 (–) O2  VCCP/ZenithOptimedia 28
4 (–) NatWest  Glue Isobar/
5= (–) Tesco  The Red Brick Road/
5= (–) Santander  Euro RSCG London/Carat 24
5= -1 Netflix  Goodby Silverstein
& Partners/MEC
8 (–) GiffGaff  In-house/
All Response Media
9 (–) Direct Line  Geronimo/MediaCom 21
10 (–)  In-house/In-house 18
11= (5=) T-Mobile  Saatchi & Saatchi/MEC 14
11= (-) Pizza Hut  Draft FCB/Starcom 14
11= (-) Marks & Spencer  In- house/ In- house 14
14= (-) British Gas  Waste Creative/iProspect 13
14= (-) Tesco Personal
The Red Brick Road/
Arena Quantum
16 (-) Lloyds TSB  Rainey Kelly Campbell
Roalfe Y&R/MEC
17= (-) Visa  Publicis UK Team Visa/
17= (-) Dell
Sid Lee/Mediacom 11
19 (-) Nestle Aero  Skive/Mindshare 8
20 (14=) Ford (B Max)  Wunderman/