Esso Petrol Stations The introduction of cheaper fuels by the supermarkets changed the landscape of the UK petrol and diesel market.

Esso Petrol Stations

The introduction of cheaper fuels by the supermarkets changed the landscape of the UK petrol and diesel market.

Esso Pricewatch, launched in January 1996, aimed to eliminate the disproportionate impact which price was having and to reassert the importance of brand values. The essence of the strategy was to match the lowest price in the area; all other promotional activity was withdrawn.

The campaign was launched in all media and supported by a PR programme. The theme was carried through to point-of-sale material and all communications with retailers, car manufacturers, journalists and fleet-car managers. The tiger’s eyes not only represented watching competitor prices but underpinned the Esso branding and reputation for quality fuel.

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Since the campaign, Esso’s market share has increased to an unprecedented level, equating to an increase of over 1 million customers a week. Attitudinally, Esso also benefited from improved consumer perceptions of offering better fuel for the car and the best value-for-money.


Safeway created a carefully differentiated positioning in the grocery sector. The brand mission was defined as ” making shopping easier for today’s young families” – a high spending group and a particular weakness for Safeway.

Under the “Lightening the Load” banner, a number of initiatives were launched including an overhaul of range and pricing to bring the value offer into sharper focus.

Service initiatives included mother and baby parking, more bag packing, self scanning and the Refund & Replace own-label quality guarantee. Distribution of the ABC loyalty card was extended and an alliance with Abbey National led to the introduction of debit card facilities and interest payments on account balances. The Harry and Molly campaign has increased awareness five-fold to 66 per cent with improvements on all measures of brand image.

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Average basket value has risen 12 per cent; penetration of families was up nine per cent. Nielsen Homescan shows brand share increased from eight per cent to nine per cent and, according to Management Horizons, Safeway had the largest profit margins in this sector. Profits rose ten per cent and the share price went from 2.94 to over four.


“Every Little Helps ” is more than a strapline; it is a credo which has helped Tesco completely reposition itself.

This has been achieved by focusing on the essentials of the shopping experience – range, layout, store environment and store staff commitment.

Over 2,500 new own brand lines were launched during 1996, while the Unbeatable Value price initiative reinforced Tesco’s commitment to low prices.

Tesco’s brand personality transcends different formats from superstores to Metro and Express stores. The relationship with families has been particularly important, as shown by the new crèche, but the objective has always been to make the shopping experience easier for all shoppers.

Initiatives such as Customer Assistants, Blue Box Shopping, Customer Price Checkpoints and Price Reassurance have all led to image improvements.

Clubcard and the launch of Clubcard Plus has helped to increase the loyalty of existing customers, as well as bringing in new shoppers.

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During the past ten years, turnover increased from 3.5bn to 11.5bn with profits up even faster to 713m. Market share rose to 20.7 per cent by the end of the year – a historic high both for Tesco and indeed for any other supermarket.

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