Monday, 17 October 2016

Discounter Duels

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. Ich where 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?


Barbara Fisher said...

Hi Sue, I’m not sure I agree with the statement about children smiling more often because they don’t need much. All the children & teenagers I know have a long list of things they can’t live without and those lists seem to get longer at this time of year!! I hope Santa has deep pockets because I don’t.
I shop at Morrison’s simply because there is a store close to where I live. They used to be consistent with the brands they stocked but all that has now changed. These days they have something in stock for a short while and then replace it with something else. I presume it is to do with their profit margins but it is driving me mad! This week they have dozens and dozens of different types of cereal but the one I want is no longer available. I now have to drive an extra 6 miles to pick it up at Tesco – honestly I could stamp my feet!!!
I don’t really care who wins the duel of the discounters – I just wish they would all stop and think about their customers for once. Having said that I do prefer Lidl to Aldi not that I go to either of them very often.
I'm having a grumpy day - as you can tell - sorry to take it out on your blog. :-)

Sue Imgrund said...

Of course I don't mind a grumpy stomp around my blog - I do it myself sometimes :)

I agree with you totally. Retailers these days all talk about being customer-led or putting the customer first but in a lot of cases, it is all talk. That's why the advertising for Aldi isn't credible and actually just annoys me. Having to drive an extra 6 miles isn't about simplifying your life, it's about complicating it.

As an aside, it amuses me that people who work for retailers (and I have done it myself) talk about 'the customer' or worse 'the consumer' as if there's just the one, although this reveals a lot about the way they regard their customers - that they are all the same.

Barbara Fisher said...

Feeling much better today Sue - my grumpy stomp (I love that!) around your blog must have done me good. :)