Tesco Food Love Stories Ad Review

Tesco’s Food Love Stories ad campaign is a big and bold attempt to reassert the grocer’s brand image at a time when budget rivals are giving lots of supermarkets a run for their money. The ads, which began in early 2017 for a two year run, coincided with Tesco’s first full year of growth in seven years.

image showing Tesco Love Food outdoor ad campaign

It’s hard to accurately measure the affect of campaigns, but Tesco chief exec Dave Lewis said the brand’s “quality” score on YouGov has shot up since the Food Love campaign began. The aim of the campaign was to build “trust” and “differentiation” for the brand. It’s been well documented that people tend to trust “ordinary” people and be more suspicious of anonymous corporations. The Food Love campaign puts a diverse range of ordinary people at the heart of its slickly-produced creatives, which include a series of TV ads telling the stories behind its customers’ favourite recipes.


Tesco’s group brand director, Michelle McEttrick said the campaign focusses on “how good food brings people and families together.”

The Food Love Stories campaign isn’t just about putting a personal face to Tesco products, it’s about creating emotional bonds between the popular grocer and its customers, based around the ideas of relationships and fostering a sense of shared community.

This is one of the challenges of big name brands; they are so ubiquitous that people struggle to build personal connections with them. This means it’s hard to foster brand loyalty, which is tricky in a competitive market that sees budget grocers like Lidl losing the low-budget stigma they once had amongst middle-class shoppers.

It would be a stone-cold heart that didn’t feel a tug on its strings at the Food Love ads featuring characters like Dee, a nervous mum preparing her son’s favourite burgers on exam results’ day, or teenager Jimmy cooking steak for his divorced dad’s new date.

The ad spots are accompanied by online recipe’s and the stories behind them, as well as a series of Outdoor creatives.

image showing Tesco Love Food Ad ReviewImage by: http://www.allthingswrite.co.uk/17-02-23-when-storytelling-is-food-selling

Part of the effectiveness of the ads come from their ability to contextualise Tesco’s grocery offerings by showing simple and tasty recipe’s with just enough of a twist to generate interest.

Dominating with outdoor advertising

The outdoor component of the campaign shows a brand on a mission to secure full spectrum dominance.

The idea is to reinvigorate shoppers’ desire to discover Tesco’s grocery range by harnessing the key insight that food means more to people than the sum of its individual ingredients.

Image showing Tesco Love Food outdoor ad campaignImage by: https://melaniecrawley.com/home/actor/

Digital out-of-home advertising

Digital plays an important part in the Food Love campaign. There are digital ad panels outside hundreds of Tesco stores across the country. Location-based data is being utilised to link each Food Love Story to individual Tesco stores, with digital panels displaying copy such as, “find everything to make this at Tesco Leytonstone.”

The screens draw on Tesco customer data to target stores where shoppers are being tempted away to budget stores like Lidl and Aldi.


Tesco understands the importance of fighting the battle for market share outside, in the real world. They use geofencing (creating a virtual boundary to a geographical location) to track shoppers’ mobile phones as they leave Tesco stores and enter the jurisdiction of rival stores.

They are using sales data to track postcodes of areas where stores face the highest competition so as to focus their marketing efforts in those locations. This is part of the power of digital out-of-home, it combines the data-driven precision of digital and online, and uses the high-impact of outdoor to drive its messaging home.

Outdoor advertising for sales activation

It’s out-of-home’s proximity to the point of purchase that gives it an edge over more nebulous marketing formats. By using the power of digital to gain the data needed to target shoppers when they’re in the mood to buy, Tesco are in a position to drive sales activation and monitor those results, surely the motherload for all advertising strategists.

Results of Outdoor advertising

Although we don’t have data on the effectiveness of the Food Love campaign, we can take a peek at the results from Tesco’s Farms Range campaign, which used the strategies just described and saw basket penetration quadruple in 12 weeks compared to pre-launch, and saw fresh meat and produce outperform its rivals by 5%.

In-store sales activation

Image showing Tesco Love Food Stories Ad CampaignImage by: https://twitter.com/search?q=tesco food love stories&src=typd

Out-of-home advertising doesn’t just stop at the high-street, it also reaches out to audiences at the point of purchase. The power of Tesco’s Food Love campaign comes from its thoroughness; no stone has been left unturned to maximise customer outreach. Take, for example, the above image; Tesco have created in-store displays featuring a specific Food Love story, such as Nana’s ‘Magic’ Soup. The displays feature recipe cards and offer the relevant ingredients needed to make the featured recipe. This is a great example of the dynamism campaign and shows a supermarket on a mission to win the hearts and minds of UK shoppers.

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  1. […] brands are increasingly setting their sites on dominating in the out-of-home environment. Smaller brands, however, are also seizing on the potential of OOH […]

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