The world’s smallest Tesco

We feel like we should preface this by saying that even the best ideas can be ruined by sub-standard execution. And unfortunately in an age when some of the brightest marketing minds are achieving the most viral reach thanks to the internet, those people not doing so well are immediately obvious to their more switched-on audience.

Such is the case with Tesco’s campaign to announce the release of the new Tesco app in Hungary, with a stunt called the World’s Smallest Tesco.

The Campaign

In announcing the release of their online shopping app, Tesco needed a good idea that was going to capture the attention of a moving, mobile audience. So, they occupied a city light in Hungary and ran the World’s Smallest Tesco, a tiny Tesco doorway that opened up to show a smartphone loaded with the app, encouraging people to download it for themselves.

Great Ideas Go Awry

At the most basic level, there’s nothing wrong with the idea for Tesco’s campaign. Yes, the app is a little bit like having a tiny Tesco store in your pocket, and the idea of advertising the app with a tiny store certainly maintained a logical continuity. At the start of the campaign show reel we’re having interesting ideas about how this World’s Smallest Tesco might look, and likely so are the pedestrians seeing the announcement banner.

But, when the store finally is unveiled, there’s something missing.

That ‘awe factor’, the kind that really sticks with an audience, just doesn’t seem to be there in this campaign. The concepts that Tesco and the marketing agency are trying to pull off are lost in the execution of both those ideas, and the video that is supposed to showcase them. Perhaps, for the people on the ground, the tiny door that opens as they walk past has a kind of miniature magic to it, but to us it is less than nothing, making it effectively useless in a viral sense.

The Lost Potential

When we look at the World’s Smallest Tesco campaign, and think what else might have been done, we can see endless potential. This is especially true when we consider how other brands have advertised with miniature stunts, like Coca Cola’s Mini Kiosk. To capture the attention of an audience both in reality and later online, there needs to be a kind of magic that makes people look twice. That double-take has a surprisingly memorable effect that we can definitely see in the Coca Cola campaign, that certainly isn’t present in the Tesco campaign.

What They Might Have Been Thinking

In some ways, we can see what Tesco might have been thinking in their World’s Smallest Tesco campaign. The app is all about simplicity, making shopping and life easier for all of Tesco’s customers. In this way, the simplicity, and indeed almost minimalist construction, of the city light makes sense. There’s a novelty about the tiny Tesco entrance, and a quick and digestible visual clue that not only explains the presence of the board, but also encourages users to go looking for the app online.

But, for success that stretches beyond the campaign’s Ground Zero, we think that Tesco and their marketers have a little way to go.


Advertising Agency: Kirowski Isobar, Budapest, Hungary
Creative Director: Márton Jedlicska
Chief Art Director: Dániel Deme
Lead Copywriter: Péter Zsembery
Agency Producer: Éva Bayer-Baróti
Account Director: Gábor Hanzmann
Account Excecutive: Zsófia Mocsáry
Designer: Gyula Tóth
Media Partner: JcDecaux Hungary
Brand Manager: Tamás Orcifalvi
Head of e-commerce Hungary: Gergely Őri
Multichannel Manager: Nikolett Menkó
E-commerce Marketing Specialist: Ágnes Lakatos
Published: August 2014