The Hudl, a 7-inch Android device launched Sept. 30, sells for $190, or as little as $90 with loyalty-card points. Given the pricing, it's unlikely to be a huge profit driver for Tesco. Instead, the company sees an opportunity to drive its brand into more of its customers' day-to-day activities. This week Tesco will launch a campaign emphasizing the device's accessibility in a series of films.
According to eMarketer, two-thirds of Brits don't use a tablet regularly, and with around 20 million customers each week, Tesco clearly has the potential to reach many of those tablet-free homes.
"People love their technology; they treasure it because it makes their life easier," said Matt Atkinson, Tesco's chief marketing officer.
The launch comes as Tesco has been losing market share in the U.K., following a lack of investment in stores and customer service. It also took a big blow after getting caught up in the horse-meat scandal earlier this year. Wieden & Kennedy London's "Love Every Mouthful" campaign, launched in the summer, is part of the effort to restore Tesco's image and sales.
In the first two days of sales, Tesco said it sold more of the Hudl than any other individual tablet brand during the busiest full week at Christmas last year. The sales success came even before the debut of the "#LetsHudl" campaign, also by Wieden & Kennedy, which kicks off today.
Instead of showcasing the technology, the part-scripted-but-spontaneous-feeling spots show the faces of users from the tablet's point of view. Two young girls giggle and blow raspberries at the "Talking Tom" app; two brothers react with shocked hilarity as a cat misses a rooftop jump; grandparents laugh with their grandchildren as they mistake jellybeans for sausages on Candy Crush Saga; a brother and sister look on in horror as their grandma dances for them during a video call.
Each spot finishes with an appeal to action -- "let's laugh," "let's watch," "let's learn," or "let's share" -- followed by "Let's Hudl."
A "T" symbol in the bottom left corner of the Hudl gives users quick access to apps for Tesco's vast range of products and services, including online shopping, financial services, wine by the case and mobile phones. The same button provides access to Tesco's growing content ecosystem, led by its movie and music streaming service Blinkbox and Tesco's Clubcard TV.
Tesco, which has its own team of app developers, bought an 80% stake in Blinkbox in 2011. Last year, it acquired 91% of music streaming service We7 (now Blinkbox Music), as well as Mobcast, which is being transformed into Blinkbox Books, expected to launch before Christmas.
"The opportunities that technology presents are about far more than changing the shopping trip," Mr. Atkinson said. "It's about having a single and direct relationship with our customers."