Tesco’s ambition was to create a Christmas campaign that would really resonate with its customers on an emotional level. In response to this brief, Rothco devised that to win Christmas, Tesco needed to win hearts and minds first. Drawing on the insight that behind every Christmas shop is an important family event requiring a huge amount of planning, they identified that the focus of their campaign would be the hosts – who they recognised are the unsung heroes of Christmas.
Given the intimate nature of the holiday, instead of the thank you coming from Tesco, it will come directly from the guests themselves. In a heartfelt and intimate move, Tesco will turn all of their advertising space into a platform for members of the Irish public to personally thank their Christmas hosts. For the entire season, they’ll be inviting people from families all over the country to give a big ‘thank you’ to their well-deserving hosts on Christmas day.
Directed by award-winning documentarian, Ken Wardrop, Tesco’s TV ads will feature people from all over the country thanking their hosts through the form of a letter. A total of 35 ads will be shot, each one featuring a different individual reading out the letter they’ve written to their host. In many cases the hosts in question will have no idea that their loved ones have been involved until the ads air on TV.
The campaign begins with a special launch edit to introduce the idea; from that point, two to three new letters will be released on TV each week. The series will showcase a whole spectrum of emotions, from moving to mischievous, with each person thanking a real host this Christmas, in their own way.
The authenticity of this campaign called for an unorthodox approach to production, more documentary style than advertising campaign. Antidote’s Ken Wardrop led the shoot, with neither the client nor the agency present. Documentary filmmaker Ken worked closely with Antidote producer Andrew Freedman, hiring a specialised research team to source the letters. Nearly 600 were collected before being whittled down to the final 35, for the campaign.
In addition to the unconventional use of traditional channels, the campaign will also use activations to bring some new formats into the mix, including outdoor projections and an interactive digital billboard in Dublin city centre. Call outs on social media will invite the public to be part of the these surprise-and-delight activations and hosts will even get a special mention as they’re doing their Christmas shopping, with select Tesco stores handing over their loudspeakers for guests to spontaneously thank their hosts.
In keeping with the authenticity of the rest of the campaign, internationally acclaimed photographer, cookbook author and food blogger – Katie Quinn Davies was chosen for her style of presenting food with honesty, natural light and plenty of texture. Based in Sydney, Katie was thrilled to be returning to her hometown of Dublin for her first ever shoot in Ireland.
With 120 deliverables across their brands (finest and trade) this is by far Tesco’s most ambitious, and certainly most innovative, Christmas campaign in Ireland to date. Launching on November 1st, the campaign will run on TV, outdoor, radio, social, digital and in-store.
Tesco will be raising a glass to toast the unsung heroes of Christmas, and in doing so, invites the rest of the country to join in.