Cannes Media Planning Winner: Tesco wins for ‘Food Love Stories’

Jun 25, 2018 | Content marketing, Social media

The Cannes Lions award for media planning went to supermarket Tesco this year, for a wide-ranging ‘Food Love Stories’ campaign.

Tesco’s Food Love Stories is a story of success – their most effective campaign ever, driving an incremental sales uplift of 38% YOY, with £231 million of sales being attributable to the campaign.

Tesco wanted to boost quality perceptions, so the supermarket chain worked with Mediacom to partner data with media to deliver a campaign personalised to food preferences.

“Quality of food” is the biggest driver of supermarket choice, but Tesco shoppers thought they were too big to care. Figures showed food quality was their weakest brand attribute, yet this was a brand issue as food quality scores outperformed the big six in blind taste tests. Only when the brand was revealed did scores drop.

Tesco wanted to tackle this (mis)perception head on, reminding the nation of their passion for food.

While other supermarkets focused on food provenance, Tesco sought to connect with the nation through emotive storytelling and the relationship we have with mealtimes. “Food Love Stories” (FLS) was born to celebrate “the food you love to cook, for the people you love”.

A short story this was not. As Tesco’s first food campaign for three years, the strategy, anchored in insight, was to take a long-term view; changing quality perceptions would require commitment and a media strategy focused on delivering a through-the-line plan powered by data.

At the heart of this was the most complex, data-driven media planning that Tesco had ever attempted, with the campaign being centrally planned across a wide range of paid channels, Tesco’s massive owned media estate, their earned channels and even using their staff as a media channel. Econometric data helped us pick the most effective channels. Data from Google and Facebook helped us personalise and localise.

Econometrics proved AV, OOH & Radio collectively contributed two-thirds to improving both brand metrics & ROI and so were placed at the heart of the plan.

Using data from customers and from Google & Facebook, we segmented the stories into four: family, healthy, vegetarian and convenience. This data-led approach allowed executional alignment to multiple groups’ needs across relevant media partners.

Tesco brought the stories to life throughout Tesco stores and our owned media including: POS, recipe cards, emails, Tesco magazine and

Tracking & testing were used to constantly evolve: from shifting static display to online video in line with its impact on quality, to upweighting OOH regional bookings depending on quality perception.

Creative wear out was measured to identify story lifespans, enabling us to reuse assets and demonstrate a greater long-term impact.


  • 18% increase in quality scores and 38% increase in incremental sales – £231m in additional sales directly attributable to media
  • With scope to increase investment across media channels used, this story isn’t ending any time soon.
  • Since FLS launched, the YouGov quality score has increased by 18%. 75% of this attributable to our campaign. How’s that for a story?

All topics

Previous editions

Get email edition