Supermarkets’ expansion into an ever-increasing range of non-food categories is something that, rather like Sunday opening, we now take for granted. Visit a larger store and the chances are that the first thing you come face-to-face with is books, clothes and homeware rather than fruit and veg.

Tesco is well known for spreading its influence further than grocery. While traditional fmcg goods remain its principal business, in the past few years it has moved into mobile phones and finance with increasing vigour.

Across 2007, it is estimated that Tesco put just over 2.5% of its advertising spend into price comparison sites, 3% into general insurance and 2.7% into pushing its mobile phone service (based on TV, press, radio and outdoor advertising). This year, price comparison sites so far account for around 10% of spend, while the other two sectors have increased by around 100% and 50% respectively. As covered in The Grocer on 6 September, Tesco has extended the opportunities for consumers to save by offering online shoppers an own-label alternative when they select a branded item.

At a time when people are looking to reduce their outgoings, Tesco has pushed two messages heavily:, with its TV ads featuring Paul Daniels, and its car insurance, which included £40 off at the checkout. This allocation is at odds with all the other supermarkets, which put their spending behind the usual variety of food and drink promotions.

Asda differed a little here, spending a seven-figure sum on advertising its school uniform. TV and press remains the multiples’ media of choice, but Waitrose stands out by using minimal press and relying heavily on TV. The large year-on-year change in Somerfield’s spend is down to it not using TV in 2007. During August, TV presence across the big seven was up 48% compared with the previous year, with none recording a decline.

While some of this increase may be down to deflation stretching budgets further, the offers were wide and varied across food, petrol and drink. The real stand-out, however, is the change at M&S, from Dervla to the £10 meal for two to David ‘Del Boy’ Jason in the blink of an eye.