Have you seen the Tesco ads that have been doing the rounds for the last few months?
On one level, there’s nothing very revolutionary about them.
On another level, they’re absolutely genius.
Each video talks about a different meal and explains some of the ingredients that go into making it.
Not exactly rocket science is it?
But what makes this particular advertising campaign so brilliant is the way that it’s not really about the food.
There’s David’s ‘Hot or Not’ Chicken Curry, where David explains that he has to surreptitiously slip yoghurt into the curry he shares with his wife.
Alice’s ‘Peacemaking Cupcakes’ which she makes after fighting with her stepmother.
Jimmy’s ‘Steak for Two’, where Jimmy fries up a couple of beautiful looking steaks for his dad and his dad’s date.
I could go on. But you probably get the point.
The food’s there, sure, but the focus on every single one is the story behind the food, and the people behind it.
Often the food is used as a vehicle the protagonist needs to experience a certain emotion, or to enhance or mend a relationship.
It elevates it beyond sheer sustenance, and makes it a lot more important than that.
It’s a very different approach to those comedic ads with Ruth Jones off of Gavin and Stacey, with Ruth making wise cracks at the checkout about how cheap the food is.
And it’s a smart departure, for at least three reasons:
1) We love stories. Humans are hardwired to respond well to stories. Whether it’s the guy in the pub who’s really good at spinning a yarn or that TV show that we just can’t stop watching, pretty much all of us respond well to stories.
By including something that appeals to everyone they’re trying to reach, Tesco are able to reduce the friction in their television advertising and get more eyeballs on their advert. Because it doesn’t blatantly try and sell their wares, more people will consume it.
2) It evokes emotion. By telling stories that resonate with their viewer, Tesco are able to evoke an emotional response to their ads, and as we all know, an emotional response is far more effective when it comes to getting someone to take action than a purely rational one.
3) Once they’ve told the story, they still call to action. These Tesco ads aren’t ‘brand awareness’ ads that’ll win a hatful of advertising awards without generating any extra sales.
The creators have clearly thought carefully about how they’re going to generate a positive ROI on them, which is why, once the story’s been told, they call the viewer to action by explaining that they can get the recipe in store (and the ingredients).
And because they’ve sold the recipe so well, you do actually want to try it.
(Well, I do anyway!)
We can all learn something from Tesco’s approach here. Here’s a super quick run through three of the ‘take aways’:
1. If you’re not telling your story in your marketing, then it’s not as powerful as it would otherwise be.
2. Thinking about the inner emotions that your prospect feels and then tailoring your message to evoke those emotions is a smart thing to do.
3. Selling the outcome of your product, and extolling the benefits of it will be far more effective than just selling the product itself.
It’s smart marketing from Tesco, and if we take some of these principles and put them into practice, we should be able to create some smart marketing of our own.