Snap Happy: Tesco’s Ad Has The Power To Entertain


The Power Within


Britain’s inflation and cost of living crisis have had an impact on brands as well as customers, with grocery retailers on the front line between suppliers and consumers. One immediate result of this has been the return to prominence of loyalty cards, with a major shift in emphasis. In their heyday loyalty cards were a way to deliver long-term rewards to regular shoppers, by collecting points for future savings. But in the current environment loyalty card schemes are all about a more short-term approach – giving customers money off at the till, and helping cushion the blow of soaring prices.

Tesco Clubcard kicked off the original loyalty card boom in 1995 and launched its direct-savings Clubcard Prices offers in 2019, though it took the COVID pandemic and soaring inflation for it to move to centre-stage in the brand’s marketing. Now agency BBH and Tesco are emphasising the Clubcard Prices scheme with this summer’s “The Power Within” campaign.

As you’d expect, eye-catching price offers are at the core of the ads. But Tesco and BBH don’t just want to shout about prices. They know that in difficult times, making shoppers smile is still important for a brand’s longer-term prospects. Eye-catching offers and promotions are expensive – but they can be offset when marketing also increases a brand’s fame, feeling and fluency with the audience.

So “The Power Within” is a silly, surreal and very entertaining campaign revolving around a 33-year-old pop song. Snap!’s “The Power” has an instantly recognisable title hook and Tesco’s ads show ordinary customers so excited by the lower prices they’ve unlocked that they start singing “I’VE GOT THE POWER!” to everyone’s astonishment (including their own).

It’s the contrast between the completely everyday setting and the weird eruption of music that makes the ad incongruous and funny. The more unlikely the singer, the better the ad works – so this version, with an elderly couple voicing the song, is the highest scoring, landing at 4.3-Stars with strong short term Spike and Brand Fluency scores. That’s a very strong score for an ad which at heart is a set of special offers – and a good example of why cultural references and nostalgic elements are such powerful emotional triggers when used well. Tesco’s have made a brash, in-your-face and highly entertaining ad – one of the best inflation-busting commercials we’ve seen so far.

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