Tesco is Newsworks’ Advertiser of the Year 2022, as voted for by the news industry, and it’s not hard to see why. With the supermarket giant spending around £40 million in national news brands and releasing campaigns every month between February 2021 and August 2022, it has been a consistent advertiser across print and digital news brands platforms, with both display advertising and content partnerships playing an integral role.
Promoting everything from everyday essentials to its Clubcard and wider social and community projects, Tesco places contextual planning at the heart of its approach. The brand harnesses the context that news brands can bring to deliver greater impact and relevancy, using placements that resonate with the editorial environment, the day of the week, the time of day, or even readers’ moods and mindsets.
Long-term partnerships, long-lasting results
A significant example of Tesco’s commitment to news brands is its long term, six-year collaborative display partnership – the first of its kind – with Reach and News UK, which continues to evolve and now supports its Clubcard proposition. The partnership has enabled Tesco to secure an impactful presence across multiple national and local newspapers — owning the red tops — through a prominent front-page strip, in addition to an early front half display page on a specific day each week to ensure that the supermarket brand is top of mind versus its competitors.
In addition, significant levels of display advertising across a whole host of national and local digital news brand sites are integral to the partnership to extend both scale and impact. The effectiveness of the partnership has been proven year after year, with campaign recall and brand recall exceeding industry benchmarks and strong evidence indicating an impressive return on investment for Tesco.
Every local community helps
Tesco’s post-lockdown campaign to support local communities was a particular favourite. The supermarket experienced rapid growth during the pandemic with both retail closures elsewhere in the economy and increased demand from shoppers.
But with Tesco relying on the prosperity of the local communities it serves, these short-term gains could not lead to the loss of valuable local hubs such as local pubs.
With the supermarket substantially increasing ad spend as the UK slowly came out of lockdown, Tesco’s ‘Pop To Your Local’ garnered presence across multiple news brands to secure the best reach possible in the week ahead of the big reopening. It enjoyed 79% positive ad sentiment and within print alone Tesco reached 11.7 million UK adults within one week.
Not only that, but in May 2021, it was the most effective print ad campaign, according to Kantar’s report for The Works.
Commenting on the campaign, Bountiful Cow CEO and The Newsworks Awards judge Adam Foley called it “a brilliant altruistic initiative where Tesco strengthened its position as a trusted British brand by supporting our most cherished institutions”.
Simple messages at scale
But this campaign was just the tip of the iceberg for Tesco when it came to advertising success in news brands. Tesco has always understood the power of newspapers for delivering important price messaging at scale, and has done this repeatedly during the last 18 months.
Another example is its full-page ad with the simple message: ‘A lot has changed since 2020. 1000s of our prices haven’t’. It also ran versions of its ‘Big brands. Small Prices’ ad, telling consumers that it had price-matched hundreds of products, including big brands.
Many of Tesco print ads demonstrate the creative power of ‘less is more’. One of its news brand ads had a single word as its creative: ‘Shhhopping’. This was to promote its new quiet shopping period, between 9 and 10 am from Wednesday to Saturday.
The brand also has a long-held tradition of using its brand and messaging to help both people and the planet. Its famous tagline in a print ad was used to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability: “Every little helps is… removing one billion pieces of plastic”.
The power of content partnerships
Tesco is also a great proponent of news brand content partnerships. It made great use of paid-for content with ‘Make food go further’, an informative native placement, helping people to reduce food wastage.
As part of its ‘Aldi Price Match’ campaign, Tesco teamed up with the Mirror to challenge readers to find peppers hidden throughout the newspaper. Using the creative and technical opportunities of both print and digital, eagle-eyed Mirror readers were then given the chance to win a £100 Tesco voucher by following the QR code on the inside back page.
The supermarket’s close relationships with news brands and deep understanding of their editorial content has enabled Tesco to leverage the power of contextual placement.
Tesco’s ‘Use Up Day’ ad appeared underneath a Metro front page story, which focused on an MP blaming poorer households’ struggles to afford rising living costs on being unable to manage meals or money.
Teaming up with Hellmann’s, the strip ad linked to an advertisement feature inside the print edition detailing tips to save money and help the environment by avoiding food waste.
Tesco uses the influence, reach and creative potential of news brands to great effect. It has demonstrated the effectiveness of simple storytelling, creative potential of partnerships and the power of hard-hitting campaigns. And as such, the supermarket is a worthy winner of Newsworks’ first-ever Advertiser of the Year.