Lidl is shifting the focus of its marketing communications to talk more about its quality and range and less about price in a bid to convince shoppers it can be a destination for their big weekly shop.
A new ad campaign, that launches this evening (2 June), is markedly different from what we are used to seeing from the usually value-focused German discounter. The campaign does away with the idea of capturing the “surprise” of real people when they discover the price of Lidl products that has been the central conceit of its marketing over the past five years.
Instead there is an emphasis on both quality and range across all in-store categories, not just food. This is the first piece of brand work it has done since handing its £70m advertising account to Karmarama, and the strategy shift is clear.
“We want to make it really clear that we are big on quality, and it’s a quality that can be found in everything that we sell, the things that people really care about, not just the occasional product,” Lidl’s marketing director, Claire Farrant, tells Marketing Week.
“We’re not as famous for quality in the way we are for price. We felt that we needed to start speaking with real authority and celebrating how proud we are to be one of the fastest growing retailers, with our stores full to the brim with high-quality products.
“If we communicate this right, we believe that we can encourage shoppers to buy more from us and to do the all-important weekly ‘big shop’ at their local Lidl, as well as their top-up shops.”
A 60-second TV ad will be supported by an integrated marketing campaign that includes activity in print, radio, digital, cinema and out-of-home over the summer.
The campaign will also run on social, as well as in-store and at point-of-sale as Lidl looks to bring it to life through the customer experience.
“Many brands have fallen down by failing to ensure that what is played out above-the-line also resonates in stores,” Farrant says. “The campaign’s core value will bring with it an exciting environment to shop for our customers and work for our colleagues.”
Lidl’s market share, like that of its discount rival Aldi, is still growing. According to Kantar, Lidl’s sales were up 8.5% year on year in the 12 weeks to the end of May, giving it a market share of 5.8%. Lidl has added 630,000 new shoppers in the last year alone.
Kantar estimates Lidl and Aldi are worth a collective £344m more than this time last year. However, Lidl still believes its biggest challenge is communicating its points of difference, especially compared to the ‘big four’.
“That is so important otherwise you are not offering choice [and] your brand becomes a place someone uses because it’s convenient, not because they choose to,” Farrant says.
“Shopping isn’t the most exciting thing you do in your life, but if we consistently offer our customers what they need, when they need it, we are nearly there.”
Farrant says working with Karmarama has been “great” so far, although it has not been without the expected highs and lows that come in the initial phase of any relationship.
“It always takes a bit of time at first, you are all being polite and excitable, then comes the enormity of the work piled with lots of anticipation,” she explains. “To top that off lots and lots of travelling time, through-the-night shoots, accidentally sharing water bottles, competitions of who can eat the most jellied sweets while locked in a van watching playback on a damp Wednesday in March.
“However Karmarama as an agency came to us with this idea as part of the pitching process. This idea had so much bandwidth and the timing felt right for us to start talking about quality with this level of authority.
“This campaign has real legs and we are going to stretch this to as far as it can possibly go. We are all working amazingly well as a team and we love their energy and their ambition for phase two.”