Tesco Loves Copywriters – You Should Too

As we all know Tesco recently experienced a fall from grace that was quite simply so scandalous, we feared the end was nay nigh (sorry).

We can picture the mayhem that ensued in Tesco HQ now. The Tesco overlords summoning their spin doctors to a suitably urgent meeting complete with floor chute at the first whiff of tabloid vulture circling, the first half-arsed nervous breakdowns starting in earnest, and the race to rescue Tesco’s tattered reputation beginning in fury.

The spiel was always going to be a tricky one; going with the ‘you meant to eat cow so what’s your ‘beef’ with horse?’ line probably wasn’t going to abate the disgusted public. Opting for the ‘it’s not our fault it’s the Romanian suppliers who then sent it to Greece before it went back to Ireland’ excuse wouldn’t hit the spot either. No, what this needed was some serious sugar coating that perfectly struck the artful balance between apologising and playing the victim (they didn’t know either you know, although we doubt the Tesco MD was rooting around the Value Range…)

A wordsmith was urgently required and if there was a hero waiting in the wings ready to swoop in and rescue Tesco’s tattered reputation it was the humble copywriter. The humble copywriter with the weight of knowing that for every £8 they spend, a quid goes to Tesco resting on their shoulders.

So most likely locked in a dungeon with walls plastered with Daily Mail headlines and their pet dog held captive, the poor soul set about cutting through the ‘wit’ that was storming the headlines and rustle something up that was so effective it just might just stifle the horse related jokes, which if we’re all honest, made us realise our prowess with puns was unrivalled.

To quell the angry mobs and possibly try to prise the gloating vegetarians off their high horse (they write themselves, they really do), the first Tesco apology burst into newspapers and plastered store entrances while disgruntled shoppers and smug purveyors of the Finest Range went along to see what naughty Tesco had to say for themselves.

Of course, Tesco are far too classy to send the ‘dear John’ homage via Twitter or Facebook, we deserved a damn good letter in which Tesco would graciously apologise and promise to change before we even thought about letting it back into our fridge. As the adage goes, why go for horse burgers when you’ve got prime Angus beef at home?

But grovel with words Tesco did and after two letters vehemently promising to avenge Tesco’s reputation and find out why their hodge podge meat range came pre-seasoned with horse DNA, Tesco brought out the big guns and requested one last act from their writer and saviour.

Eloquently titled ‘What Burgers Have Taught Us’ (clearly abstract), Tesco have pish-poshed the claims that their rambling burger speech was an attempt at poetry despite the fact the experts have flocked to unlock the secrets of the ‘burger sonnet’. As reported by the BBC, Christopher Burlington, an English Lecturer at Cambridge University, claims Tesco have drawn on well established poetic techniques that ‘sees parallels with the work of 17th century metaphysical poet George Herbert, who used the patterns of the text on the page to underscore the meaning of his words’. Tesco! We didn’t know you had it in you.

Burlington also draws our attention to the fact the smooze poem draws the reader down the page like an arrow, all culminating in one big fat conclusion; Please don’t stop spending all your money with us, sincerely yours, Tesco.

We never thought we’d see Tesco trying to compare thee to a summers day, but try they did and such was the poetic spiel that tumbled out of Tesco, people conveniently forgot all about the meat outrage and started throwing rumours around about the next Shakespearian talent. While we wouldn’t go that far, the ‘Tesco poem’ gave Tesco some much needed publicity that turned the heads of the newsrooms still gorging on the carcass of the previous scandal.

Some people may have walked around Tesco in a horse suit, others unleashed the wrath of memes, but as I’m supposed to be a copywriter I thought I’d better utilise some quick wordplay to sum up the copywriter appreciation post. It’s Tesco style:

Oh Tesco
We’d shop in Waitrose if we could
But you’re the Ford Mondeo of the supermarkets
And you spread like rats so we have no choice
To pop to the Metro/Extra/Express you’ve stuck on every road
People ate horse
You showed no remorse
But your copywriters patched things up
So this is a homage to the copywriter
Who put Tesco back on the map
Not as the purveyor of equine
But as crusaders of PR
Making lemonade from lemons
Making a cock-up into a hit
Thank God for copywriters
Who saved Tesco from the sh*t

Victoria Browne
  • Written by on 5th April 2013 at 09:11
  • “Victoria Browne is a copywriter & social campaigns manager at Fluid Creativity.”
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