BRAINFOOD: The Slogan Doctor

Tesco - Every little helps.

by John Morrish

What is Britain's brightest supermarket chain doing with a slogan like 'Every Little Helps', not to mention those commercials in which the British ham comes thickly sliced? Answer: it's doing good business.

The slogan, dredged up by Lowe & Partners in 1995, is a fragment of a very old proverb: there are versions in many languages. In the mummer's plays found in some parts of England and Wales, and first recorded in the 18th century, a poor man begs for money in those very words: 'My family's large and I am very small, But every little helps us all.'

Tesco's always seems to have more 'little helpers' than Sainsbury's. But it also has a long relationship with low prices. Value - or indeed, values. Watch: when thrifty, caring, regional mum and rushed, brittle, metropolitan daughter clash, who wins? And which one do you think really represents Tesco? 'Every little helps' is something your mum might say.

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