Lidl’s ripostes to Sainsbury’s and Morrisons show a brand reaching marketing maturity

Lidl has taken to some intriguing tactical advertising over the past couple of weeks that shows a brand growing in confidence and reaching marketing maturity.

The first related to Sainsbury’s. The supermarket managed to stick a poster in which customers were encouraged to spend 50p more in store and that was meant for staff eyes only on one of its windows in full sight of shoppers.

TV producer Chris Dodd quickly spotted it, tweeted about it and caused a social media meltdown. As our columnist Mark Ritson points out, while it was certainly an error on the part of Sainsbury’s to put its internal strategy on an external window, it’s a great marketing tactic to try and squeeze more revenue out of current customers than try to find new ones.

Lidl’s response, however, was very clever. A full-page ad raised its own 50p challenge to customers, asking them to save 50p by shopping at Lidl, rather than Sainsbury’s.

So far so clever, but then came Morrisons.

It finally launched its long-awaited loyalty card last week and, in an industry first, promised to price match Aldi and Lidl.

What did Lidl do? Took out another full-page ad this time pointing out in minute detail all the steps Morrisons customers would have to take in order to save the same amount of money they could get just by visiting Lidl in the first place.

This is all part of plans by Lidl to be “more reactive” with its advertising and marketing. In both cases it saw chances to have a little bit of fun and be light-hearted while at the same time reinforcing its price and value message.

Both spots fit in well with Lidl’s current ad slogan, Lidl Suprises.

The tactical ads are just the latest sign of increasing brand maturity at Lidl. This is a company that until very recently thought that sending out direct mail highlighting its latest offers was the best way to talk to customers.

Now it has a £20m TV and print campaign alongside in-store PoS that aligns with that message. It has taken to putting customers tweets praising its products and value in its advertising.

In the final sign that it is really becoming one of the big supermarkets it has taken to talking about its rivals in advertising.

Morrisons’ incoming chairman may have criticised the big four for “talking too much to each other” but in Lidl and Aldi’s case they probably haven’t done this enough. With Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons all talking about price now is the time for Lidl and Aldi to push their credentials even harder.

That Lidl is doing this through reactive advertising that resonates with consumers is a sign of just how quickly the brand is maturing.


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Q&A: Christina Smedley, PayPal

Lucy Handley

As Paypal’s vice-president of global brand and communications, Christina Smedley is putting customer experience at the centre of its positioning. This included an above-the-line campaign earlier this year running on tv and outdoor, with straplines such as ‘less paying, more playing’.


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