Tesco sparks adland scramble with £110m advertising review

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Tesco has sparked a battle for its estimated £110m advertising account, as it seeks to breathe new life into the brand after its turbulent recent performance.

The invitation for agencies to pitch for its account comes ahead of a widely anticipated marketing blitz designed to seize back the initiative in the UK and follows a shake-up of Tesco’s domestic marketing team.

Longstanding account holder the Red Brick Road, which has worked with Tesco for many years, will pitch for the brand communications activity while continuing to work on trade communications.

Tesco is launching a major advertising campaign at the end of the month to push its new Everyday Value range. But that is likely to be just the start of a major ramping up of its advertising, having come in for criticism of late that it has been overshadowed by rivals.

Recently former Kraft and Unilever marketing executive David Wood was summoned from his position as Tesco commercial director in Hungary to launch a fresh campaign against rivals in fmcg and food as UK marketing director. He replaced Carolyn Bradley, who moved to a new global position as group brand director, reporting to deputy CEO and chief marketing officer Tim Mason.

“We really value the work the Red Brick Road has done for us and will continue to do on our trade communications, which represents a major part of our marketing work,” said Matt Atkinson, Tesco’s group marketing and digital officer.

“During the time we have worked together, the way brands and consumers engage has changed and it seems to be a good opportunity for us both to step back and take a fresh look.”

Paul Hammersley, managing partner at the Red Brick Road, said: “We completely respect Tesco’s decision to review their needs at the brand level at this time of great change for their business, but obviously believe that we have all the resources and thinking they need here under one roof.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • It’s about time Tesco revamped its messaging, but I can’t help but feel that before it can successfully take on a new ad agency, the brand needs to really get to grips with what it strives to stand for in the first place.

    The ‘Every Little Helps’ campaign has failed to gauge the need for a balance between value for money and quality from the off, and the brand’s messages seem to be a little mixed. Tesco’s relentless focus on the Big Price Drop and its decision in February to drop its carbon footprint scheme - one of the few values-based activities it publicises - shows the chain to be one that is focused solely on price.

    As consumers reach a tipping point on price alone, and now want a brand with values and beliefs, Tesco’s marketing and advertising strategy needs to include embedded beliefs to pull out values that are based on more than just the price tag. In other words, Tesco needs to lay out its values and beliefs for all to see and ensure this messaging is streamlined across all advertising and marketing activity. After all, every little helps when a brand gets to know itself.

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