Welcome Back, Dotty

Dotty is set to return to our screens as Tesco refocus their marketing efforts with an emphasis on putting customers at the centre of communications. That’s right, we’re going to be hearing those three infamous words an awful lot over the coming months – ‘Every Little Helps!’

Now, we at Oakbase love Dotty more than any other marketing agency. She’s a lovable ol’ character, isn’t she? The prospect of seeing her grace our screens once more warms the very cockles of our hearts.  However, it’s what her return represents that we’re really excited about.

In an interview with Brand Republic, when asked where Tesco had gone wrong in the past, their group brand director, Michelle McEttrick, said: “It was a market dynamic. All of the supermarkets sunk into the middle, talking about price above value, quality or service. Tesco was not unique in that.”

But by breathing new life into the Every Little Helps strapline, she hopes it will remind people that: “Tesco is a great democratic brand. We are on the customers’ side.”

Amen to that, Michelle. In a post-recession economy there will of course be space for price centric propositions (and the likes of Aldi and Lidl have capitalised on this), but the levels of price-warring and communications hammering home price-points is frankly a danger to the eco-system. An insistent focus on price-led strategies lends itself to the commoditization of products and services, which in turn leads to even further price-based competition and shrinking margins. It’s a slippery slope, so it’s refreshing to see Tesco recognise that and invest in their brand proposition.

The implication of the return to a value-added economy on the communications industry is the creative challenge of bringing propositions to life. In order to do that, communications will need to strive to engage and entertain consumers. Brands must tell stories, entertain and engage consumers on a human level if they’re to communicate propositions effectively.

When considering this against the backdrop of ad blocking software usage growing 82% in the UK in the year up to June, it’s clear to see that, more than ever, consumers do not want to be advertised to. They have been utterly bombarded, especially online, and increasingly they are taking matters in to their own hands. Not only is this a concern for brands, but the knock-on effect is an impact on content creators and those that enjoy consuming top quality content. Free content without ads ceases to be free as monetisation becomes an issue, and well, that ruins it for everybody!

In response to the alarming uptake in ad-blocking software, the IAB have introduced new guidelines to improve the ways in which consumers are served ads online. Moving forwards, ads must be ‘LEAN’.


It is hoped that these measures will improve user experience and load times, thus reducing the need for users to use ad blocking software. However, more than that, brands must understand that people don’t want to be advertised to. The rise of ad blockers is proof of this. They aren’t interested in such invasive and dull content. However, they are more than willing to be entertained in the correct context. It’s the job of marketers like us to know the difference and provide well targeted brand communications accordingly. More than ever, it’s the only way that brands can expect to be heard.