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The cost of being noticed

This morning the monthly YouGov monthly report into the advertisers of the month landed in my inbox. The metric chosen to represent success was ‘ad-awareness’, the methodology for which asks respondents to recall which ads they have seen in the past two weeks.

A couple of ‘winners’ were cited as an unsurprising blend of big spenders, Heinz Beanz, Gillette and Tesco Clubcard. The biggest climber was Tesco ClubCard, whose ad awareness grew over 5.5% points across March. They really do have the power don't they? Unlike the other two brands referenced, I immediately hummed the theme tune from the TV ad as I read this. But rather than leave it there, I started to wonder, just how much does a national brand really have to spend to see such a shift in ad awareness?

From the data available on Nielsen, and accepting a lack of the true representation of digital investment, the short answer is around £7m, (for Q1 as a total). Whilst the spend itself is hardly a surprise, Tesco are one of the UK’s biggest advertisers, what I found more interesting was two things; the flighting and secondly in reality just how hard it is to shift brand metrics.


When you look at the flighting of comms, the consistency of press across the 14 weeks at the start of the year is interesting, a steady drumbeat of frequency of messaging inline with peoples shopping behaviours. Moving into February we see a huge investment in Direct Mail, which at that investment is going to reach a huge percentage of the population, and radio airtime being added. Only in March that the TV airs, and the ad awareness spikes for Tesco Clubcard

At Craft we are obsessed with the power of frequency, of driving notice, and this approach is a lovely example of building cover and familiarity with what might be considered supplementary channels before utilising a hero asset (in a month that typically has higher inflation for linear TV prices) to compound the campaigns effectiveness.

Shifting metrics

Considering that Tesco have over 4,000 stores nationwide, which were plastered in clubcard ads (you might call them helpful reminders), and considering that the Clubcard is 27 years old and has an awareness of 90% amongst the general pop, a 5.5% shift in ad awareness, and a shift in consideration of 3% points both start to seem quite small.

But in reality what this tells me, and should remind us is that shifting brand metrics, getting people to notice you, and remember you is really hard. It requires all your available touchpoints to be working in unison, and to be consistent. And for a business like Tesco this is a great set of metric shifts, they are of course massive and therefore have to talk to everyone. Despite this it’s worth remembering you can always look to swing the odds in your favour, no matter the size of business, the budget or the goal. So there are a few golden rules to hold on to:

Shrink the fight: Compound your comms to a specific geo, particular audience, needstate or routine.

Focus on being noticed: Don’t try to chase a reach number (reach is nothing without meaning), focus on upping the frequency and make sure your best assets are as visible and sticky as possible at the right time (they don’t always have to lead).

Build in time: You need time to measure and assess results accordingly rather than expecting input output results to be evident in the same week or month. The cadence of brand building is much slower but much more profitable in the long term, the time to understand needs protecting.

Of course there’s many more ways to plan, and many more factors at play, and if you have any questions, we’re always up for a discussion.


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