W+K London Wins Tesco

One of U.K.'s biggest advertisers

Tesco private-label bottles of Champagne were popping today at Wieden + Kennedy after the London agency won the highly competitive $172 million review for creative lead at the U.K.’s largest retailer and one of its most coveted advertisers. 

British offices of JWT, McCann Erickson, SapientNitro and WCRS were among the agencies initially vying for Tesco's business in the review that kicked off in April. The short list came down to TBWA\Manchester, VCCP and W+K. London consultants Oystercatchers handled the search.

The business was the founding client of The Red Brick Road in London, set up in 2006. The agency was created by a group of execs headed by then-retired advertising exec Frank Lowe at the request of Tesco marketing executives who had a longtime working relationship with Lowe London. The incumbent, no longer associated with Frank Lowe, withdrew from the review in April. Tesco accounts for more than two-thirds of the business at The Red Brick Road.

The review was called after weak Christmas sales and lackluster response to Tesco’s "Big Price Drop" promotion in the fourth quarter. After the company issued a profit warning in January, Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke took day-to-day control of the U.K. operations.

Describing the pitch process as “very competitive,” Matt Atkinson, Tesco’s group marketing and digital officer, said in a statement: “I would say that it was very hard to make a decision—the responses we had from all were very compelling indeed.”