Why Tesco Mobile’s Hilarious Twitter Feed Is Actually No Joke

Serious strategy for gaining share

After our article on Monday about Tesco Mobile's trolling-the-trolls Twitter feed, the company's digital marketing agency, Jam, reached out—and we were able to meet the brainiacs behind the strategy.

While the tweets are hilarious, the idea is to show that Tesco Mobile couldn't be more serious about being a real competitor in the market—thus the witty comebacks to those who diss the brand on Twitter. (The tweets have often used the hashtag #nojoke.) Daniel Deeks-Osburn, a brand manager at Jam, tells AdFreak: "The #nojoke campaign was launched to change perceptions about Tesco Mobile—to show the British public that there's really nothing funny about Tesco Mobile. By creating content that's authentic to the brand and consumer, we're creating a story people want to engage with. That's true brand advocacy."

Jam has been overhauling Tesco's image as a downmarket brand. The goal was to re-energize the brand's online presence, so Jam spent time training Tesco's community managers as well as providing strategy and content. The account began to go viral when the retort above was retweeted more than 11,000 times.

The goal is to make Tesco feel human and likable, not to be a bully, said Deeks-Osburnso. (After burning teenager @LiyahSummers in the tweet above, they sent her a cell phone. She took it in stride, and even changed her Twitter handle to @tescogirl for a short while.) A couple of weeks later, Tesco Mobile and U.K. competitor O2 engaged in a public rap battle:

This week, they had fun with a fan and Innocent drinks—not a competitor:

With Innocent having nearly five times the number of followers, the back-and-forth resulted in major exposure for Tesco Mobile. And the response to the new Twitter strategy has generally been wildly positive; the brand has seen community and engagement grow, and it is well on its way to achieving the goal of making Tesco Mobile a desirable brand.

As for other social-media channels, Tesco Mobile is promoting its new 4G plan today on its Facebook fan page by offering to create mini music videos for any fan who comments. They include breakdancing, heavy bass and awkward rapping. I'm putting in a special request to see someone properly execute the Roger Rabbit.

Roo Powell is freelance contributor to Adweek.