BBH and MediaCom bag IPA Effectiveness Awards Grand Prix for Tesco

They transformed Tesco’s business and added £4.3bn incremental revenue between 2015 and 2019.

BBH and MediaCom were awarded the advertising industry’s top accolade, the prestigious IPA Effectiveness Awards Grand Prix, at a virtual awards ceremony this evening (Monday 12 October) for transforming Tesco’s business and adding £4.3bn incremental revenue between 2015 and 2019.

They embarked on a five-year strategy for a total business turnaround following Tesco’s 2015 nadir; when it recorded of the biggest loss of a retailer in UK history, and the brand’s lowest ever scores in customer trust. This was achieved by focusing on three clear goals; rebuilding trust, repairing quality perception through an emphasis on food and restoring value perceptions; and using the age-old strategy of putting the customer at the front and centre of the business.

Tesco’s new purpose of ‘Serving Britain’s Shoppers a little Better Every Day’ required significant creative changes. This involved placing Tesco customers and staff front and centre of campaigns, including a modern interpretation of ‘The Tesco Family’, to communicate Tesco’s focus on helpfulness and extended to providing meaningful, helpful acts for customers such as the removal of the tampon tax. The new focus yielded instant results with improvements in branding, cut-through and likeability. The second phase of Tesco’s new creative identity involved focusing on ‘the food you love to make for the people you love’. This was borne out through ‘Food Love Stories, brought to you by Tesco’ – a series of tales that used food to deliver love, and celebrating treat night indulgences through Tesco Finest.

Tesco rebalanced its media investment to support campaigns with long-term objectives, and focused on winning share of voice. Practically this meant changing the media mix to better reflect people’s changing media consumption - down-weighting print and up-weighting digital spend. A long term approach was taken to Food Love Stories allowing them to unfold, evolve and be retold. In practice this meant amplifying the tastiest stories through TV, Radio and OOH’s ability to drive national reach and build brand; making stories personal through insight-led segmentation by meal type, occasions and family make-up; and bringing ideas to life in helpful ways in stores and owned media estimated to be worth £147m in annual media value.

The inside-out approach to rebuilding relationships, including with over 330,000 employees and 17 million Clubcard members, combined with re-affirming ‘Every Little Helps’ as a promise to customers drove remarkable results, enabling Tesco to post its highest Trust, Quality and Value scores in nearly a decade alongside business profits of £2.21bn.

Other key results included:

  • +640% increase in brand index score
  • +28.2% increase in like-for-like sales
  • A shift from losses of £6.4bn to a profit of £2.21bn in five years
  • Every £1 invested in marketing returning £13.65

Says Stevie Spring, Chairman of Judges and Chairman of the British Council: "I have known the IPA Effectiveness Awards are the most demanding advertising awards to win since working in agencies that entered - and won - them during the Eighties and Nineties. Now I have been Chairman of the Awards, I can say they are also the most demanding to judge.

Congratulations to Tesco on their 2020 IPA Effectiveness Awards Grand Prix. They demonstrated forensically how a renewed focus on customers drove Tesco’s turnaround. Then-CEO Dave Lewis and his team proved that ‘Every Little Helps’ is not just a marketing end line, but a promise that's been delivered throughout the organisation. Setting, and delivering on, this kind of ambition for marketing is what makes an IPA Effectiveness Award so hard to win – yet so worth winning.

Says Stevie Spring, Chairman of Judges and Chairman of the British Council

Says Sue Unerman, Convenor of Judges and Chief Transformation Officer, MediaCom: "BBH and MediaCom have driven a truly incredible turnaround for one of Britain’s biggest retailers. The complexity of challenge and complexity of solution are amazing, showing how brand thinking can drive wholesale change across a big business and that marketing can be much deeper than communications & drive business transformation.

"It is a fantastic reminder that sometimes going back to the basics of putting your customer first, combined with outstanding creative and strategy, can bring exceptional, game-changing results. Congratulations to all involved, and principle authors Simon Gregory and James Parnum in particular."

In addition to the Grand Prix, BBH were also named Effectiveness Company of the Year, picking up two Gold and one Silver Award in total.

The IPA Effectiveness Awards are the world’s most rigorous and prestigious Awards scheme with entrants having to prove the payback of their communications activity. In total five gold, six silver and 14 bronze prizes, along with 10 special prizes, were awarded to companies internationally, including in Australia, Canada, mainland Europe and the UK.

All winning case studies are available to download from the IPA website or from WARC.

The 2020 IPA Effectiveness Awards are sponsored by Facebook, Google, Marsh, Newsworks, System 1, Thinkbox and Warc.

The IPA Effectiveness Awards kick off the EffWorks Global 2020 Conference, which will feature an industry leading line-up of marketing effectiveness experts and cultural commentators present a mix of new effectiveness R&D, unique case studies, keynotes, panels and live Q&A’s across four afternoons of content, including an in-depth session looking at the Grand Prix paper, where Journalist and Broadcaster Samira Ahmed will be discussing the winning campaign with Deputy Awards Convenor and CSO McCann Worldgroup EMEA Harjot Singh, at 14:00 on Wednesday (14 October) and additional Effectiveness Awards sessions throughout the Conference.

Full list of 2020 IPA Effectiveness Awards Winners:

Special Prizes:

Gold winners:

Silver winners:

Bronze winners:

Last updated 13 October 2020