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Tesco sets bar high for BBH as it revives Dotty

We’ve been waiting all year for a proper campaign from Tesco and new agency BBH and now, according to a report in Marketing, there is one: or, rather, a new version of an old one.

BBH is reported to be reviving Tesco’s last famous campaign, the one featuring Prunella Scales as ‘Dotty,’ the challenging shopper, with Jane Horrocks playing her long-suffering daughter. This dates back 20 years now – what has Tesco been doing in the meantime? – but was an undeniable success in painting a human face on behemoth Tesco. The new Dotty character is to be played by Gavin and Stacey star Ruth Jones (poor Prunella Scales has Alzheimer’s).

Dotty, and the epic campaign that preceded it starring the late Dudley Moore, emanated from Lowe Howard-Spink. Frank Lowe was a genius at persuading clients to do brave things and signed up, first, Ian MacLaurin and then Terry Leahy and marketing boss Tim Mason to make some of the best retail ads of the period.

This is a big call by BBH and new Tesco CEO Dave Lewis (about to report some rather dismal financial numbers). But surely the right one: customers have to learn to love Tesco just a little bit and great advertising is the best way to do that.

But can the new BBH produce great Tesco advertising? Wonder if Sir John has been dragged away from his other ventures…

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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