Market-leading supermarket group Tesco is holding a pitch for a huge own-brand packaging project, as part of a massive restructuring of its own-brand design process. There is a possibility of further redundancies within the chain’s design department.
Pentagram and Coley Porter Bell are believed to be included in the competition, which is thought to encompass all Tesco’s own-brand products. Coley Porter Bell chairman Colin Porter was unable to comment and Pentagram was unavailable to comment on their involvement with the project.
A high level of strategic work will be involved for the winning consultancy. Decisions will include whether to retain an umbrella Tesco brand for products or to establish individual brands akin to Sainsbury’s Novon washing powder or Boots No 7 cosmetics. “There is a lot of admiration for Boots at Tesco,” says a source close to the retailer. A Tesco spokesman declines to comment on the project.
The pitch comes amid high-level changes within Tesco’s design management. Design manager David Arthern has left the company in the last two weeks. Sources close to Tesco say he is a victim of its plan to “emulate a brand company” in the way it now uses design. The spokeswoman says Arthern was on a six-month contract, which has ended, and he has effectively been replaced by former colleague Carol Duguid. Duguid declines to comment.
The changes at Tesco will result in closer tactical and strategic links between buyers and in-house brand managers within all product categories. A number of design department staff were made redundant earlier this year (DW 21 February), and the latest developments suggest further cuts may be imminent.
Lloyd Northover Citigate created implementation guidelines for Tesco’s newly launched Personal Finance brand identity. The initiative is part of a growing concentration on financial products by supermarket chains.
See News Analysis page 8