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Tesco CEO Lewis says Christmas ad rerun worked 'really well' as festive sales rise by 2.2%

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Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket, has posted a 2.2% like-for-like sales increase during the festive quarter in the UK. Helping to drive this was the second-year return of BBH London's ‘However you do Christmas, everyone’s welcome’ campaign.

The work featured an inclusive message and invited viewers to celebrate the holidays how they wish. It gained substantial media coverage for lauding the diversity of the UK. The Christmas work was noted for its inclusion of a hijab-wearing Muslim woman celebrating the festivities. On the decision to rerun the ad in 2018, Alessandra Bellini, Tesco chief customer officer, said: “We looked at whether to continue or find a different creative, but we felt really strongly that it worked really well for us last year.”

On the brand's quarterly conference call, Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis reflected on the campaign and the results it helped deliver.

He admitted that the inclusive work had not altered the makeup of Tesco's customer base due to its scale making it broadly representative of the entire population. He likened the brand to a "mirror" of the UK population in this respect. Lewis admitted that the creative helped return Tesco to its 'Every Little Helps' purpose with its "welcoming" message.

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Citing research, he said: "On the basis of engagement, Tesco was strongest for brand engagement 6th but best for food retail. "In the report, value and quality perception were positive and net promoter scores were the strongest they have been in five years."

With a 2.2% increase, the retailer said it had outperformed the market in terms of both volume and value terms. Furthermore, it said customers also liked the proposition better too with quality and value perception both up year-on-year at 3.5% and 4.5% respectively. The announcement market the retailer's twelfth consecutive quarter of growth.

It reported its best performance in the food, clothing and general merchandise categories.

Online, it broke new ground, with like-for-like sales increasing by 2.6% over the Christmas period. This helped deliver its biggest-ever online sales week with nearly 51m items delivered and 776,000 orders fulfilled.

Lewis said: "As a team, we have achieved a lot in the last 19 weeks. In the UK we delivered significant improvements in our competitive offer and this is reflected in a very strong Christmas performance which was ahead of the market.

"We have more to do everywhere but remain bang on track to deliver our plans for the year and as we enter our centenary we are in a strong position.”

The retailer also pulled away from Black Friday, similar to Sainsbury's. Lewis said: "There was general merchandising focused activity, it was a very small activity as it is no longer that significant – not the way we plan our business."

Vegetable sales were up, indicative that consumers continue to buy into meat-free produce too. Lewis said: "Over the last two Christmas combined we have sold about 35% more vegetables than any previous period." Furthermore he said the free from range had grown by 11%, accommodating those with special dietary requirements.

Meanwhile, last year, it piloted an assault (called Jack's) on discounters like Aldi and Lidl who have seized significant market share in recent years. It promised that this new chain, which debuted in Cambridge, will undercut its continental rivals. It said it will open between 10-15 Jack’s stores in the following months. There was little Christmas activity from these brands as the drive continues uninterrupted,

For the year to come, it is worth noting that Tesco scrapped its brand guarantee promise in June 2018, it said, to instead just invest in lower price essentials, often own-brand. Thomas Brereton, a retail analyst at GlobalData, indicated to The Drum that there is an impending price war coming in 2019.

Bryan Roberts, global insights director at TCC global, said: “This was a decent showing from Tesco, outperforming some key competitors. Initiatives such as 'Farm' brands and the overhaul of 'Everyday Value' have created an improved resilience against the incursion of its discounter rivals."

As Tesco approaches its 100th year in business, Lewis was reluctant to say much about the marketing plans marking a century of Tesco. He hinted: "Tesco is 100 years old. It is a great British business that is built around customers. We are getting back into that."

Earlier this week, Sainsbury's posted a 1.1% sales drop in the festive quarter, a trend blamed on “consumer uncertainty” and its decision to reduce promotional activity during Black Friday. It, however, awaits a decision from the competition watchdog on whether it can merge with rival Asda.

Additionally, Morrisons said its like-for-like Christmas sales were up by 0.6% on 2017. Chief executive Potts said the ads from Publicis London appeared to have “worked well”.

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Billion Dollar Boy hires Kathy Dover as first-ever Director of Client Services as it scales up its business and develops its tech offering

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Billion Dollar Boy, the global influencer marketing agency, has hired Kathy Dover, formerly a client at Maybelline and Garnier as well as Head of Account Management at VCCP Blue, as its first-ever Director of Client services.

On the back of impressive growth in 2018, Billion Dollar Boy has initiated an ambitious scale-up plan, which is centred on expanding its agency business and licensing its own in-house technology, including StoryTracker – the industry’s first and only AI-powered Instagram Story tracking tool.

In her new role, Kathy will work with the senior management team to support the growth plan by adding 15-years of experience on both agency and client-side to the business. She will also take responsibility for the account management teams, developing their relationships with clients and ensuring the delivery of a premium service.

Most recently, Kathy led the integrated marketing communications teams at Maybelline and Garnier UK. Prior to this, she worked as Head of Brand at Lastminute.com. While working agency-side she led the account management team at VCCP Blue where she was integral in developing the original Compare The Meerkat campaign for Comparethemarket.com.

Edward East, CEO Billion Dollar Boy, said: “Kathy has amazing experience on both sides of the fence, which means she is able to see the potential of influencer marketing across the whole marketing mix as well as understand what clients want, and need, from the medium. As we continue to scale up and drive our technology offering, Kathy will ensure we are always communicating this to the client in the right way and bring gravitas and experience to the business.”

Kathy added: “Influencer Marketing is growing so quickly there is a massive opportunity now for us to really raise the standard of measurement and effectiveness and cement its position as an integral part of the marketing mix. Through BDBs tech and measurement advancements, we can really start to bring some rigour and finesse to the medium and achieve this goal. I’m excited to be involved in that and in driving the team’s impressive growth strategy.”

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China marketing specialist Hot Pot hires Cat Navarro as Chief Operating Officer

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Hot Pot, the full-service China marketing agency, has hired Cat Navarro, a business transformation specialist of more than 15 years, as its first-ever Chief Operating Officer.

For the past five years Hot Pot has been steadily growing its business, but with the massive acceleration of Western brands entering the Chinese market and the prediction that China will account for 60% of all e-commerce by 2020, it has put in place ambitious plans to scale-up and match that expansion.

Cat’s appointment reflects the company’s ambition. Her responsibilities will include the dual roles of implementing and overseeing transformation strategies, growth strategies, management structures, operational duties and workflows as well as acquisition, retention and training of talent.

Cat has spent 10 years leading high-profile change programmes for large organisations (SITA, AMP) and Australian government bodies (police force, housing). She then transferred those skills to scaling early-stage London-based businesses such as Quill Content, Ometria and The Sandpit.

Jonathan Smith, founder and CEO of Hot Pot, said: “We are excited to be entering the next phase of Hot Pot’s growth. To successfully scale the business, we knew we needed someone to have the requisite attention to the granular details but also be able to deliver on our overarching strategic goals.

“Cat’s depth and breadth of experience allows her to do this. She is exceptional at putting the right structures in place, operates at pace, and has an absolute passion for finding and developing the best talent.”

Cat Navarro added: “Hot Pot encourages brands to throw away the rule book and do things differently when it comes to marketing in China, and I’m excited to bring this bold philosophy to my role. When scaling a business that’s niche or disruptive, you can’t just rely on what you know or how others do things. Doing that just puts you on the same playing field as everyone else.

“I’m also thrilled to be leading both operations and talent, because the two are so intrinsically linked. It’s great to work alongside a CEO who invests in his staff as much as he does in the growth and profitability of the company and its clients.”

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10 questions with… Anna Watkins, UK managing director of Verizon Media

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In an attempt to showcase the personalities of the people behind the media and marketing sector, The Drum speaks to individuals who are bringing something a little different to the industry and talks to them about what insights and life experience they can offer the rest of us. This week's 10 Questions are put to Verizon Media's UK managing director Anna Watkins.

What was your first ever job?
It would have been washing my dad's car to earn my £1 pocket money each week. Smart man.

Which industry buzzword annoys you most?
Relatable.

Who do you find most interesting to follow on social media?
@POTUS is truly mind-boggling.

what is the highlight of your career (so far?)
Working with such a creative, inspiring and intelligent bunch of people every step of the way.

What piece of tech can you not live without?
It's baffling that I was born in London yet still seem to use Citymapper every day.

Who or what did you have posters of on your bedroom wall as a teenager?
Adam Ant and Count Dracula (aged 7). I'm not quite sure what that says about me.

In advertising, what needs to change soon?
We need a truly diverse workforce.

If you could change anything about a social media platform you use, which one and what would you choose to do?
It’s more a question of changing myself – I need to flex my creative muscles if I’m ever to make more than one friend on Tumblr…

What is (in your opinion) the greatest film/album/book of your life?
Scarface / Sign of the Times / War and Peace – delusions of grandeur, mine and theirs.

Which industry event can you not afford to miss each year and why?
The big awards bashes – it's like going to a series of weddings where you know half the guests.

The Drum's 10 Questions With… runs each week with previous entries available to view here.

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