The Brief

The Brief

When Tesco appointed Lowe Howard-Spink in 1989 the recession was

beginning to bite and Tesco’s image was still stuck in the ’pile it

high, sell it cheap’ groove. While Lowe’s Dudley Moore campaign

relaunched the brand, Tesco worked on building a broad-based marketing

package to suit the shopping needs of the 90s.

’Every Little Helps’, launched in 1993, was the result and the Dotty

campaign, featuring Prunella Scales and Jane Horrocks, became the voice

of the brand two years later.

’Dotty’ was developed as an un-brash, upbeat, confident campaign which

looked at the supermarket experience from the shopper’s viewpoint.

Lowe describes its relationship with Tesco as a ’brand consultant with

an advertising bias’ rather than a straightforward advertising


Tesco sees its campaign as a statement about its new culture, which is

visible in a string of initiatives underpinned by the Clubcard loyalty

programme, introduced in 1994.

This commercial is the first to promote the Clubcard and the brief was

twofold: to reinforce the ’Every Little Helps’ philosophy and to stress

that Clubcard works to suit the needs of different groups of


The Campaign

The film features Prunella Scales interrupting her daughter’s ante-natal

class to drag her off to Tesco to register for a Clubcard. The eighth ad

in the series, it is shot in a straightforward way, with the emphasis on

dialogue and quality acting to ensure that the mother and daughter

characters appear as personalities in their own right and not merely

corporate mouthpieces.

The Result

Coming straight into Adwatch at number three (well ahead of Asda and

Sainsbury’s), this commercial has clearly struck a chord with the


Its recall across sex, age and socio-economic groups is consistent,

although curiously its lowest scores were against the 25-34 and 35-44

age groups (74% and 69% respectively).

There is no denying the success of Tesco’s marketing efforts. IGD data

shows that before ’Every Little Helps’ Tesco’s market share stood at


Three years later, it has soared to 14.5%, making it the nation’s

favourite supermarket.

The Account

Client: Tesco Stores

Marketing operations director: Richard Brasher

Head of advertising: Catherine Baxendale

Agency: Lowe Howard-Spink

Creative team: Phil Dearman (copywriter) and David Christensen (art


Budget: Undisclosed

Media: National ITV, Channel 4 and satellite (backed by a series of

integrated Clubcard initiatives)

Target: All housewife shoppers


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