‘Big can be good’ – Looking at Tesco’s size in a new way
Overview of the idea and thinking: When we started working with Tesco Ireland, it was a big brand with a big image problem. The Irish people didn’t trust it – they questioned the quality of its meat and produce and weren’t sure what, if anything, Tesco was actually doing for Ireland. They basically thought ‘Tesco doesn’t care about us, so why should we care about it?’.
So we set out to fully understand the brand and the role it had to play in our society. And we were surprised to discover that the majority of Tesco’s issues were based on myth and conjecture. Behind the scenes was a team of people obsessed with quality; in fact Tesco was leading the way in the country and making all other retailers raise their game. And as a company, Tesco was actually committed to using its size for good. So while Tesco was most definitely a big machine, it also had something else that we hadn’t counted on – a big heart.
And so we set out to lift the lid on Tesco Ireland and let people know what the brand really stood for; to let people know the good things it was already doing and what its plans for the future were.
Introducing ‘Big Can Be Good’, the TV commercial that turned Tesco’s Achilles heel – its size – into a virtue. Using a humble and honest tone of voice, we disarmed the public and invited them to look at Tesco’s size in a new way. This allowed us to explain that being big can actually be of benefit to everyone, from suppliers and farmers to customers and local communities.
‘Big’ little art direction – welcome to toytown Ireland: To bring the idea to life, we combined our thinking with a beautifully complementary production technique called ‘tilt shift’, and a toy town Ireland filled with big products, big benefits and big customer promises was born.
The technique added hugely to the tonal shift we were after. It was much less in your face than traditional Tesco work and so it caught people’s eye. By surprising consumers and stopping them in their tracks, they were then much more open to listening to what the brand had to say for itself. The approach also allowed us to involve Tesco colleagues in the commercial, but without featuring them in the traditional way that retailers like SuperValu have done in the past.
Standing out amongst the ‘sea of sameness’ in this category is difficult, and the tilt shift approach to art direction allowed us to be unique in our look, as well as our thinking.
The big response: The spot earned ROTHCO its first ‘Ad of the Day’ appearance in Campaign. It was also widely written about across the globe, with everyone from Little Black Book to Brand Republic taking notice. Most importantly, consumers were sitting up and taking notice of Tesco’s completely unexpected, humble commercial, filled with positive proof points.
This brand manifesto TV commercial launched in September and led a fully integrated campaign, which brought with it resounding success:
By the end of Q3 the brand’s Net Promoter Score jumped by a massive 10% points: from -3% Q3 2014 to +7% Q3 2015. This was Tesco’s best ever NPS score and this huge improvement was in stark contrast to the performance of its competitors whose scores dropped during the same period:
Q3 2015 also saw a dramatic rise in brand measures, which hadn’t shifted in over a year: ‘Brand I can trust’ up 9% points ‘Quality of fresh food’ up 8% points ‘Has good everyday prices’ up 9% points ‘Has a positive impact on my community’ up 4% points.
‘Brand Liking’, ‘Brand I Trust’ and ‘Brand Reputation’ all showed significant gains with Tesco scores being the most improved for any retailer year on year.
The new campaign helped to turn around a trend of negative net loyalty for the first time in years from -10.25% in Q3 2014 to +0.25% in Q3 2015.
Basket Penetration year on year was up across Grocery (+.5%), Meat (+2%), Poultry (+.3%) and Produce (+.5%). The greatest impact was seen in like for like sales. For the first time in years, the decline in sales was halted from -2.6% (March to September) to -.5% (September to December) – and this was only 3 months into the campaign launch.
Maybe being big isn’t such a bad thing after all!