The first two adverts – which were filmed in a Tesco store in Newmarket – feature actress Ruth Jones of Gavin and Stacey fame alongside comedy actor Ben Miller.
Along with their teenage son, the fictional family playfully exchange banter with Tesco till workers as the recently launched Brand Guarantee scheme and Tesco’s commitment to open a new checkout if more than person is queuing ahead of a customer are both promoted.
Speaking to Marketing Week, McEttrick said the characters will “remain for the long-term” in an above the line narrative that will focus on how the supermarket giant is continuously improving the in-store experience.
“The aim is to rebuild the brand from the inside out,” said McEttrick. “When I started at Tesco I looked at ‘Every Little Helps’ and thought to myself ‘most marketers would kill for an asset like this!’
“It is synonymous with Tesco but we want to refresh its meaning as it perhaps lost its way a little. Every Little Helps must be represented to consumers as ‘Tesco is on my side’ and ‘Tesco can make me smile’.”
Not over focusing on price
As the big four supermarkets aim to win back customers lost to the fast-growing discounters Aldi and Lidl, price has become a key battleground. Tesco boss Dave Lewis, for example, has lowered the prices of 1,000 items since taking the top job in September 2014.
McEttrick, however, admits that Tesco has been guilty of too much price-orientated marketing and a lack of differentiation.
She explained: “We don’t want to add to the noise anymore. We have lots of opportunities to communicate price and promotions within our own in-store channels. So why should we spend money in media to do the exact same thing?
“When we talk to people in the media environment we need to tell them things that they don’t already know. If we’re on the TV it has to be to emphasise the things that make the Tesco brand unique.”
Tesco reported underlying profits of £354 million for the first half of its current financial year; a staggering 55% fall from the same period last year when the figure stood at £779m.
But despite this gloomy backdrop, chief executive Lewis says Tesco’s brand metrics are showing clear signs of improvement.
Having more fun through advertising
“All the measures we have for customer satisfaction are improving, all the measures on quality and price are improving. That tends to level up to improvement in trust,” Lewis told Marketing Week earlier this month. “Our in-store experience is improving and when that happens above the line can then add an awful lot to our brand. We are very committed to above the line but only when we have something meaningful to say.”
McEttrick agrees with the stance of her boss. She points at the decision to screen the two new ads – which will debut this Sunday evening (18 October) – to colleagues across the country before the public as proof of the improvements in staff relations.
When it comes to marketing, Tesco is also looking to take itself less seriously, according to McEttrick.
She concluded: “This TV campaign is not supposed to be a generic celebrity endorsement, it is meant to be classic British comedy. The characters represent the classic British shopper and their challenges, and how Tesco is helping them through great service. We don’t want to take ourselves as seriously as we perhaps did in the past.”