Tesco casts doubt over future of Price Drop

Tesco has hinted that its Big Price Drop initiative could be jettisoned after admitting that it needs to “have a different kind of conversation with shoppers”.

The supermarket has vowed to rethink its approach to marketing after reporting like-for-like sales in the UK fell 0.9% in the 12 months to 25 February.

It has come under fire from analysts for having a one-dimensional approach to marketing after launching its price cutting strategy last year.

Speaking at a press conference in London earlier today (18 April), CEO Philip Clarke said that getting the right promotional mix was critical, and that while Big Price Drop had a good start, it “was not sustained”.

Clarke would not be drawn on the future of the Big Price Drop either way, raising questions over whether the business still has faith in the initiative.
Lucy Neville-Rolfe, group executive director of corporate and legal affairs director at Tesco, told Marketing Week that while price is still an important message, Tesco is likely to take a different marketing approach in coming months.

She adds: “Consumers are feeling the pinch so the idea of being competitive on price is still incredibly important but we’ve obviously got to talk about broader marketing concepts. Phil [Clarke] has always talked about the mix of price service and quality and each of those make up the shopping trip so we’ve got to get each of those in the marketing concept.

“We made an announcement about our agencies and we haven’t repitched our advertising in around 15 years - customers have changed and as part of our whole look at the brand we decided to have a look at how to do [advertising] differently, so you’ll be seeing something different from us - it’ll take a bit of time to get new concepts in.”

Clarke also hinted that it would shift more of its marketing communications online to position itself for the “digital era”.

Tesco’s marketing efforts in recent years have been akin to “running up the down escalator”, Clarke added, overstretching its brand into too many areas that it wasn’t suited to.

He cited the recently axed online second hand car dealer as an example of a venture that “diluted the brand” without making a profit.

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