Strategy and Sausages:
A British Strategic Planner in Germany
Tuesday, 17 March 2015
Good for Lidl!
When I first arrived in Germany, back in the 90s, the grocery discounters Aldi, Lidl and their imitators were rather depressing, soulless places. There was a grim warehouse feel to them and you had to gather up strength for a visit - was it really worth braving that strangely alien totalitarian-style experience for the few pfennigs that you might save?
Things have changed since then, of course, and the German discount giants are now giving Tesco, Sainsbury's et al more than a run for their money in the UK. What has interested me is that these retail chains seem to have learned from their expansion into different cultures, and have re-applied that learning to their home operations.
Take Lidl's new multi-media campaign, for example. Back in the 90s, I don't suppose Lidl would have dreamed of spending money on TV, but if you view the commercial above, you'll see that they haven't just coughed up for media, they've invested rather a lot in the production itself.
The campaign is all about quality, although that word itself is not mentioned too frequently. Lidl uses the word gut - good. The image film is all about how do we tell what's good? It's not about what people say or tell you, or what's expensive, or what everyone else thinks is good. It's about what is good for us personally - through the evidence of our senses - what feels good.
The story continues in the weekly brochures, each taking a theme. We've had coffee, where the elements of "good" - how it's roasted, the selection of beans, the drinking experience and character, the proof through stamps and tests, and a good price - are explored. Or this week it's chocolate, where it's about melt-in-the-mouth, and ingredients, and responsible production - and the price.
Over on the website there are plenty more stories about bread, about meat, about fruit and veg, about wine. And links back to the TV spots, such as this one for chocolate. It's scrumminess captured on film.
Quality is one of those Holy Grails in marketing that many advertising campaigns have tried to capture, but failed.
It's ironic that one of the few that has succeeded should be a lowly discounter.
When I was little, I wanted to be a spy. I got off to a good start, studying Psychology at Trinity College, Cambridge but somehow got side-tracked into the wonderful world of advertising and marketing.
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