Will Amanda Holden be the new Prunella Scales for Red Brick Road’s Tesco ads?

The Red Brick Road agency loves a storyline and characters, especially for Tesco. As its inmates did at their previous agency Lowe UK.

Now it’s introduced the UK’s favourite blonde, Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden, to send up her glamorous image as a pretentious shopaholic who calls herself Belsher rather than Belcher.

It seems like quite a thin joke but RBR/Lowe and Tesco have done this before, with the long-running campaign featuring Prunella Scales as ‘Dotty’ with Jane Horrocks as her long-suffering daughter.

In the new campaign Faye Ripley plays the Horrocks role, as Holden’s sister:

Prunella Scales, a fine actress who first became really famous as Mrs Fawlty in John Cleese’s Fawlty Towers, stuck with the Dotty role for numerous campaigns. Whether or not Holden does is down to lots of things: the success of the campaign, Tesco’s budget and her own career prospects.

But ever since Tesco, under then marketing director Terry Leahy, surprised the world by going to Frank Lowe’s agency in the 1980s and producing a campaign majoring on Dudley Moore chasing free range chickens around France, the world’s second-biggest food retailer has realised the benefit of running ad campaigns that make the company look posher and more sophisticated than its demographic suggests it is.

But this is genius though, one of the best ads ever made:

It will be interesting to see if Holden is a long-term investment or just a punt on Christmas.

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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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