Tesco does away with the ‘naughty list’ and gives us all a treat this Christmas

You can tell there’s a healthy client-agency relationship behind an ad like this. Tesco and BBH have dared to put a smile on our faces rather than a tear in our eye for 2020, and they’ve done it by singling out an indisputable, universal truth – we all feel like we’ve fallen short this year.


A pandemic will do that to a nation. Whether it’s giving your sister a bad haircut, hoarding loo roll, sneaking off on holiday, failing at home school, or — horror — not donating to Captain Tom, Tesco is letting us off the hook. This year, Santa has scrapped the “naughty list” and put us all in line for a treat. The ad is set to the sound of Britney Spears singing “Oops I did it again.”

Tesco’s research found that 78 per cent of people admitted to a “naughty slip-up” this year, which provided the insight for this campaign, coupled with the fact that 74 per cent of people wanted to see light-hearted content in festive ads.

Alessandra Bellini, chief customer officer at Tesco, said: “We want to help customers celebrate and this year that didn’t just mean fabulous food and drink – they told us they were also looking for a bit of joy after a tricky year. Hopefully our ad will deliver that, while providing reassurance that – no matter how dodgy that home haircut was – you’re not alone and after this year, you’re definitely not on the naughty list, so embrace the festive treats.”

Tom Drew, creative director at BBH, said: “Who on earth would be on the naughty list after the year we’ve had? Hopefully we’ve made something to make people smile at a time when we need it most.”

The print work continues the theme of letting people off the hook, with lines like “Bubbles for your bubble” and “It’s a ‘two desserts’ kind of year.”

MAA creative scale: 9.5

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall
Emma Hall is the former Europe Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.

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