Tesco Christmas 2014 ad

W+K’s Tesco Christmas 2014 ad campaign

Tesco boss Dave Lewis has turned to the advertising agency behind Waitrose in a bid to give Tesco back its marketing “X factor.”

Lewis, who dispensed with the usual pitch process in handing the £145m account to creative agency BBH, called time on Tesco’s short-lived relationship with Wieden+Kennedy, the agency brought in by predecessor Philip Clarke in July 2012.

BBH announced today that it was quitting the far less valuable Waitrose account in a bid to try to help Lewis turn around Tesco’s fortunes, with many critics calling for the new chief to try to recapture the connection between Tesco and its core customers.

Former Unilever man Lewis has also brought in the agency Blue Rubicon to beef up the brand turnaround programme and improve Tesco’s reputation.

“We are assembling a small team of world class advisers to work on the turnaround of our reputation and brand,” said Lewis. “BBH is an outstanding creative agency with an exceptional track record.

“Blue Rubicon is a proven adviser to boards around the world on corporate and brand turnarounds,” he added. “Both businesses will play a central role as Tesco reconnects with customers and rebuilds trust in the brand in the coming years. I would like to thank Wieden+Kennedy for their creative contribution to the Tesco brand and the professionalism with which they are managing this transition.”

Despite overseeing ad drives including the Love Every Mouthful campaign and two Christmas campaigns, Tesco is widely believed to have lost its spark since the glory days in its advertising, which including the famous Dotty campaign fronted by Prunella Scales. “Ever since the change to W+K, one of the most successful creative agencies in the world, we have been expecting Tesco to try to carve out a new brand strategy but the approach just seems to have been very much like the old one,” marketing expert Andrew Marsden said.” The marketing has been very tactical, rather than strategic.”

“Tesco needs a call to action to its customers, which I would say it hasn’t had for six years, ” added one former supermarket boss “They have to try to find a little bit of magic – the X factor.” BBH said that due to conflict rules, it could no longer work with Waitrose. “A unique opportunity has presented itself with Tesco and we are looking forward to working with Dave Lewis and his team,” said Neil Munn, BBH. “Waitrose is an extraordinary business and brand,” added  Sir Nigel Bogle, founder of BBH. “Working with The Partnership has been a pleasure and a privilege. We are very proud of the work we have created together.” Rupert Thomas, marketing director of Waitrose said: “BBH has done a wonderful job for us and we wish them well for the future.  We’re now going to take some time to think creatively about our approach.”