Tesco buys digital ‘word-of-mouth’ agency

Tesco has acquired digital world-of-mouth agency BzzAgent in a deal said to be worth $60m (£37m).


US-based BzzAgent specialises in word-of-mouth campaigns that it initiates by sending products and coupons to a sample of 800,000 “BzzAgents”.

The agents are chosen for their demographic profile and are encouraged to push the products among their network on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

BzzAgents later report back on their individual campaigns and the results are later analysed and passed back to clients.

Clients to have worked with BzzAgent in the past include Unilever, L’Oreal and Michelin.

BzzAgent insists it does not pay its agents and claims the agents declare their interest in the products to third parties.

The acquisition is being carried out by Tesco subsidiary Dunnhumby and will see BzzAgent CEO Dave Balter report directly to Simon Hay, Dunnhumby chief executive.

Hay says: “Not only does BzzAgent leverage a base of 800,000 influential customers in the word-of-mouth space, it is focused on measuring return on investment and the role of social media. Our focus has always been on building loyalty.

“With BzzAgent, we believe we can now help our clients understand advocacy and use this knowledge to earn more loyal customers for retailers and brands.”

All 60 full-time staff will be retained and the company will remain as a separate entity.

Tesco’s Clubcard scheme is run by Dunnhumby, which is also tasked with working with other retailers to create in-store marketing campaigns and loyalty shopper programmes.

The supermarket also recently bought online film streaming service Blinkbox.

This story first appeared on Pitch Centaur’s subscription-based online interactive marketplace for agencies and clients to share news, opinion and debate.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here