Oooh, food’s nice, isn’t it? Isn’t it yummy? Well we’re Tesco and we think food is really, really, really nice. It’s all yummy and scrummy and totally great. So, come on – let’s hear it for food!

But get this. We sell food. Yes! All sorts of food!

In our shops!

Yes – all that lovely grub – sausages, mustard, biscuits, cabbage, chicken, biscuits, errm sausages, erm apples, biscuits…. We sell it!

In our shops.

So why not buy some food at Tesco today?

We reckon we like food loads, loads more than Asda or Sainsbury’s or Morrison’s or Waitrose. Loads more. Probably.

And thanks to this advert on a massive billboard, we hope that you’ll be in no doubt about how much Tesco believes that food is a terrific thing.

Why not buy some today? At Tesco. In one of our shops.

Mmmm… food.


    Advertising that explains and celebrates what a company does – shocking indeed. Whatever next? Apple will be running ads telling us that they design computers and are based in California. Or maybe Compare the Market will be explaining that they compare the market for insurance. Or perhaps HTC will be telling us that they make phones and have a three-letter acronym for a name. Oh, hang on…

    • Jonathan Staines

      Okay – a few points:
      Firstly, a supermarket saying: “we sell food” isn’t advertising. It’s certainly not worthwhile advertising. I doubt that anyone in the UK is unaware that the nation’s biggest retailer sells food. An ad like this is therefore a very expensive signpost telling people something they already know.  

      Secondly, in the ‘made by Apple in California’ campaign, Apple aren’t merely communicating “we make computers” are they? Have a look at the campaign again. It’s about the relentless pursuit of perfection and their fastidious standards of design and production.

      Thirdly, what a company does is implicit in its advertising. So unless we’ve never heard of the brand for some reason, the ad needs to communicate more than the mere function of the company. 

      If you’re Tesco and you’re telling people you sell food, you’re not giving them a reason to come to Tesco rather than any other food retailer. People already know Tesco sells food and guess what? They can buy food in a myriad of places. Therefore, this is not effective or worthwhile advertising – ie. it’s not communicating a benefit or differentiating the brand from its competition. These are fairly fundamental requirements of advertising.

      Perhaps I’m missing something?

      • N CHRISTIE

        Of course you’re right that Apple aren’t attempting merely to convey, ‘We make computers in California’. For the avoidance of doubt, nor do I really believe that Compare the Market are just saying ‘we compare the market’ or that HTC are spending $1billion to have Robert Downey Jr make sure people know that there are three letters in their name.

        And this campaign doesn’t just remind people that Tesco sells food.

        From a business perspective Kantar Retail director of retail insights Bryan Roberts was quoted in Retail Week as saying “the campaign is timely
        for the grocer following improvements in Tesco’s store offer and
        product… refocusing on quality and fresh food is long overdue” and that the campaign is “distinctly Tesco”. The article commented, “Following a Retail Week consumer poll discovering that the grocer is
        shoppers’ number one choice for fresh food, this campaign should
        continue to position the grocer as one that sells quality food.”

        From a creative perspective, elsewhere in this week’s Campaign, Mark
        Roalfe writes of the same Tesco work, “My favourite of this week’s
        offerings… a welcome return to form.”

        And most importantly, from a customer perspective, initial response to the campaign has been positive in relation to improving perceptions of Tesco’s fresh food offering.

        I would hesitate to make any claims at this early stage but over time we will see whether or not your prediction of the worth and effectiveness of the campaign is accurate.

        (I should disclose that I work at Wieden + Kennedy, the agency responsible for the Tesco campaign.)

        • Jonathan Staines

          Excellent. I’m sure we can look forward to some equally insightful and differentiating ads from some other famous brands in future…

          “Our fully motorised, wheeled metallic containers can transport you from one place to another.”

          “When used in combination with heated water, this detergent may remove soiling from fabrics.”

          “Our processed and fried chicken products may provide you with momentary pleasure and sustenance.”

          Sure deodorant
          “This product contains chemicals that may prevent you emitting the odour of dried sweat.”

          • Andrew Bent

            I get it, over the last 10 years Tesco has become literally a one stop shop, a high street in a vast out of town warehouse. So a re-emphasis on food, not special occasion food, or sexy food, or try something different food, or suspiciously cheap food but everyday food, makes sense.

            And as market leader Tesco don’t necessarily need to differentiate, do they? They can quite legitimately just promote ‘Food’ and reap the benefits of the whole market growing. That’s the theory isn’t it?

  • Robert Upton

    I don’t think they’re simply telling people they sell food, they’re telling people they LOVE food. Selling food doesn’t have any emotion. It’s for profit only. Having a love for food means they would probably take pride and care in what they’re offering. I’d much prefer to buy food from someone who loves it rather than just sell it…

  • Jonathan Staines

    If you’re a massive food retailer…hang on, let’s say you’re the biggest in the UK, should it really be newsworthy that you love food?
    What’s the alternative? That you’re indifferent about it? That you’re not really interested in the stuff that you sell millions of tonnes of? Shouldn’t I, as a customer, expect you to care about it, love it and take pride in it?
    Tesco sells food. It’s a fundamental part of what they do. Their ads shouldn’t sell food, they should sell Tesco.
    Their brand building shouldn’t be about building the brand of food — or about building the brand of Tesco as a fan of food.
    The brand should be giving customers powerful reasons to come to Tesco rather than any other food retailer — but especially rather than the other supermarkets.
    Really liking food or ‘celebrating the joy of food’ isn’t compelling. It’s also not why people will choose Tesco. It’s an impossibly intangible thing to prove and — come on — which other food retailer or supermarket wouldn’t say that it loves and celebrates food?
    In fact, how many human beings wouldn’t say that food is a pleasure that’s intrinsic to the human experience? It’s one of the safest possible things you could assert.
    For me, this a great example of the platitudinous and anodyne presented as something more significant. It’s a very small thought written in very big letters…
    Right. I’m off to Pizza Express this evening. I’ve discovered that they are really enthuisastic about Pizzas. And what’s more, they’re selling them in their restaurants.
    They kept that quiet.

    • Aniko Lehmann

      Tesco with it’s fresh, quality food? It’s a joke! If you would know what their bread is made of, where the chicken comes from, how low quality most of their products are, this ad would just convince you even more to go and buy food elsewhere. When you have to shout about the quality of your food, there is clearly some problem that lead to this solution. Maybe once in life, people’s perspective is correct? 

  • Craig Wood

    I saw their strawberry ad that was part of this campaign, it was good, it made me feel like buying strawberries. How many other ads sell us unbranded food? 

    Not many unless it’s the likes of Milk Marketing Board.

    As a ‘consumer’ I’m not a fan of Tesco but this campaign is really good. Sometimes if your category leader it’s good to sell the category. ‘oh but we all eat food already’? Well so do I and after seeing their strawberry ad I was ready to buy strawberries and if Tesco was my local supermarket as it is for many then they would have profited.

    • Jonathan Staines

      Hi Craig. Unfortunately, your final sentence undoes your whole argument: the advert sold you strawberries, not Tesco.

      It made you want to eat / buy strawberries, not shop at Tesco.

      It’s a really important distinction — a Volkswagen ad shouldn’t simply make me like cars and want to buy a car. The job of the ad is to sell me Volkswagen.

      To your other point, when it comes to food, no-one really needs to ‘sell the category’.

      As food is essential to sustaining life, it’s a fairly safe category and will remain so for a very long time.

      • Craig Wood

        I disagree. I’ll leave it at that and I hope you enjoy your food, wherever you buy it from.

        • Jonathan Staines

          Okay. Thank you, Craig.

          I just wish I enjoyed shopping at supermarkets as much as I enjoy food….

  • Jason B

    I kind of saw it as making people feel hungry / increasing usage and stepping out of the phoney price war that Asda started (?).  Hearing Yabba-dabba-doo and remembering Brontosaurus ribs, still makes me want to eat a steak. And I don’t feel Asda gives a toss about food.

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