Strategy and Sausages:
A British Strategic Planner in Germany
Monday, 17 October 2016
This Autumn, both Aldi and Lidl have launched noticeable new campaigns. But these couldn't be further apart in terms of approach.
Lidl is making the most of the fact that they have always stocked a certain number of brands as well as their own brand. And with Aldi taking on more and more brands (they used to only stock one of two, such as Haribo, but they've now got some biggies, like Nivea and Pampers) this is perhaps timely. The new campaign for Lidl is very simple, very hard-hitting: You have the choice. Strong brands and strong own labels. The advertising idea is a direct comparison of price - for example 15 iglo (aka Bird's Eye) fish fingers for €2.89 or 15 Ocean Sea (Lidl) fish fingers for €1.59.
In some cases, the branded product costs double that of Lidl, but the point is that the choice is yours, and Lidl stock both.
Meanwhile, over at Aldi, there's a completely different sort of campaign going on. This is not as grubby and straightforward as talking about price, but is on a much loftier level. The campaign idea is Einfach is mehr('simple is more'). The website, posters, films and brochure are all full of philosophical musing about how our life has become too complex, how children smile more often than grown-ups because they don't need much to be happy, how we need more simplicity in our lives.
There's a cooperation with a rapper, Fargo, who has released a song on this topic, and, yes, you can buy the T-Shirt, too. And if that wasn't enough, there's yet another platform or website or something, Einfach. Ganz. Ichwhere you can sign up for all manner of training videos, expert tips, recipes and all the rest.
This route is backed up by Aldi's principles. For example, life should be simple: you don't need 9 kinds of lemons. The range in Aldi stores is limited, and everything is so cheap you can't make a bad choice.
But, much as I agree that the world is too complex and a lot of people have forgotten what simplicity means, I don't think Aldi is the solution. Aldi, if anything, increases complexity by its time-limited offers, which are usually things one doesn't actually need but feels never-the-less compelled to rush out to the store early on Monday or Thursday to snap them up before anyone else does. While you don't need 9 kinds of lemons, you may well have a favourite brand that Aldi don't stock, and have to make an extra trip to get that.
Admirable though the initiative is, I don't think Aldi is at all credible as the sender. And despite best attempts to do otherwise, the campaign has a distinct 'finger-pointing' feel to it.
So, who will win the duel of the discounters? My money is on Lidl.
My price or yours?
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.
My children's books: