Tightly targeted advertising boosts Tesco's sales

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Tightly targeted advertising boosts Tesco’s sales

The advertising campaign developed by Lowe & Partners for Tesco, running alongside the familiar and successful Dotty campaign, proves that clever, tactical advertising can work wonders for the bottom line, not just in terms of the period over which it runs, but in terms of changing shoppers’ habits.  A carefully orchestrated campaign, using ten second price promotion ads, which ran from September 2000 to November 2001, raked in an additional £300 million in revenue for Tesco because the sales effects lasted for up to a year.

Turning More Shoppers into Loyal Followers
A loyal shopper is defined as someone who spends 50 per cent or more of their shopping budget with one particular store. Although Tesco had managed to garner a very loyal customer base, there was still an opportunity to extract more revenue from that base as well as convert some of the 68 per cent of its shoppers who were spending at least half their weekly shopping budget elsewhere. These shoppers, known as ‘secondary’ shoppers, were an important target for the supermarket. There were 4.2 million of them, spending on average £26 per week and many of these were upmarket purchasers who were more likely to try new food products and ready meals.

Tesco’s brand image was not a problem, thanks to the successful ‘Dotty’ campaign starring Prunella Scales. Secondary shoppers valued the Tesco brand just as much as the other supermarkets where they shopped more often. So Tesco had to come up with additional factors, which would help tip the balance in its favour.  It was felt that special offers, which offered real value for money, were the key.

Using TV Advertising for Price Promotions
Lowes faced a tricky conundrum. They had to produce ads, which would be effective in galvanising secondary shoppers into action, while not displacing ‘Dotty’ as Tesco’s primary ad campaign.

Ten second TV executions were chosen, which would run for short periods of one to two weeks, when they were required, across Monday to Friday with a heavier weighting towards the end of the week prior to the heaviest shopping period. A maximum of three OTS was targeted based on evidence from TNS TV Span, which found that those exposed to advertising three times in the three days before buying products were 20 per cent more likely to buy than those who were not exposed at all. Programmes were tightly targeted with ads being bought centre or first/last position in break, and ABC1 housewives were a core target group in terms of the programming that was targeted.

The Creative
It was decided that rather than risk overusing ‘Dotty’ a separate campaign should be created. From this was born the simple proposition ‘Don’t miss out on this amazing offer at Tesco.’ The ad executions reflected the humour of ‘Dotty’ while suggesting quality rather than desperation.

The ads featured food products on offer that were brought to life and whose infectious enthusiasm animated other products around them. The ‘Every little helps’ endline ran at the end of each execution. In the run-up to Christmas for example, the execution promoting 20 per cent off Mumm Champagne featured bottles of the brand whimpering “Mum! Mum! Don’t leave us,” as a shopper plucks a discounted bottle of Mumm champagne off the shelves and into their trolley.

Advertising that Stuck
It was found that recognition for these ads was just as high among secondary shoppers as it was among Tesco’s loyal shoppers. It was perceived that the promotions offered good value and despite being basic price promotions ads, people actually liked them.  It even helped enhance people’s view of the brand.

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The largest proportion of the TV advertising budget was spent on ITV, which accounted for 63 per cent of the £3.2 million spent on TV. This led to healthy average monthly TVRs of 74 against Tesco’s core target audience of housewives.

The Bottom Line
The advertising prompted an uplift in sales. Comparing revenue to the same period the year before and the year after, revenue from all the promoted items was significantly higher. It also had a positive knock-on effect on products within the same category, which also saw a sales increase. The sales promotions achieved longer-term disruption to buying habits ...

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