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 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
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
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
Media: National ITV, Channel 4 and satellite (backed by a series of
integrated Clubcard initiatives)
Target: All housewife shoppers