Tesco touts value this Christmas as it takes delivery driver on magical mystery tour

Building on its centenary push – which celebrates how the retailer has been delivering ‘great value’ for 100 years – Tesco’s Christmas campaign blitz aims to underscore the brand’s relevance and convenience in the run-up to the big day.

At the core of the grocer’s festive push, created by BBH London, is a nostalgic Back to the Future-esque magical mystery tour of the UK; which sees an unassuming Tesco delivery driver embark on an unexpected, whirlwind journey.

After getting tangled in some colourful Christmas lights, the hero at the centre of the ad is transported through time and space to make a series of Tesco food and drink deliveries to Winston Churchill, some ravers, dinner party guests from the 70s and the Queen. He even pays a visit to the set of 1980s gameshow Bullseye.

The ad ends on the strapline: ‘Delivering Christmas for 100 years’.

Set to air during the debut of ITV’s I’m a Celebrity on Sunday evening (17 November) the campaign ties in with Tesco’s centenary activity, which has been running throughout 2019, bringing back iconic characters from the past like Mr Blobby, Des Lynam and Morph.

Though she declined to say how much was spent on the campaign, Tesco’s top marketer Alessandra Bellini told journalists during a Q&A on Friday (15 November) that most of the budget had been allocated to media.

She added that while Tesco was shifting some spend to digital channels, in line with where its audience was, TV would still sit at the heart of its crucial Christmas push.

In fact, to further its reach, the actor playing the delivery driver in the spot is set to make appearances on flagship Channel 4, Sky News and ITV channels as part of a series of partnerships inked with Mediacom.

OOH, press, radio, digital, social, in-store and PR executions (models of the van featured in the ad have already surreptitiously landed on roofs throughout the UK) will support the TV ad. BBH has also created a bespoke AR Lens with Snapchat, as well as a Facebook arcade game, in which customers can go behind the wheel of the Tesco delivery van themselves.

Using digital to drive relevance

Data based on customers' online searches and Clubcard shopping habits has been gleaned by Tesco to inform the campaign’s various executions. These insights will be used to “deliver the most relevant deals to the country,” explained Bellini.

For instance, an OOH poster aimed at vegans will be displayed in Brixton after Tesco identified the London borough as the ‘vegan capital of the UK’ and found that country-wide searches for vegan Christmas food has increased eight-fold since 2018.

With an average of 776,000 Tesco deliveries set to ring doorbells in the week before Christmas day and 65% more searches for Christmas deals on 2018, BBH has also dreamed up creative executions that push the supermarket’s online prowess and value proposition to customers.

Dynamic OOH will also be used to “follow the needs and conversations of customers,” communicating opening times and seasonal deals as the month progresses said Bellini.

Like other retailers, Tesco is battling through a steep decline in consumer confidence and belt-tightening amid Brexit uncertainty. While Bellini didn’t comment on how it had impacted Tesco’s marketing spend, she said the aim of the Christmas ad was to bring something “fun and festive” to proceedings.

Last year, against the backdrop of a series of disappointing Christmas results from British retailers, Tesco emerged as a festive winner. The grocery giant posted a 2.2% rise in UK like-for-like sales in the six weeks to 5 January, outperforming the wider market in all key categories - food, clothing and general merchandise.

Bellini recognised that the brand’s 2018 campaign, which focused on how every household does Christmas differently, had a role to play in this shift having delivered the “best emotional engagement” and “an improved and value perception over Christmas”.

The figures represented the brand’s best UK festive performance since Christmas 2009, and though the brand has pivoted slightly on the strategy that brought it success last year, it will be measuring more than just sales.

"Brand perception will be a big consideration,” explained Bellini, saying Tesco would be looking closely at whether the ad upped shopper intent.

“[We’ll be asking:] ‘do people feel engaged?’ and ‘does the ad set the right mood?’ – all in that order. We love it when people talk about our Christmas campaign but it’s not the only measure we use."

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