The Battle of the UK Christmas Adverts this year has primarily seen John Lewis and Sainsbury’s storm ahead of all competition to vie for the 2015 title of ‘Most Poignant and Well-Produced Marketing Masterpiece’. And, more recently, we’ve had the off-the-wall entry from McVities, involving a series of adorable baby animals (including a baby narwhal in a punch bowl?!) popping out of a tin of biscuits and ‘singing’ together.
But I have to say, I have great respect for Lidl’s effort this year. Their Christmas ad is a continuation of their wider #LidlSurprises campaign, which began a few months ago.
Clearly recognising they have significant perception issues in Britain, earlier this year the discount supermarket chain chose to address them head-on by creating a pop-up farmers’ market in London. The specially constructed market featured a wide range of Lidl products, all of which were displayed completely brand-free. Interactions at the food stalls were filmed and turned into Lidl’s first UK TV brand ad.
As the advert shows, unsuspecting visitors to the market were genuinely impressed by the quality of the products on offer, disbelieving at the low prices, and then shocked when they found out the food is from Lidl. The light-hearted campaign cleverly harnesses the brand’s negative image to emphasise how good their products actually are.
Beyond the TV ad, the national campaign has made great use of social media, with #LidlSurprises tweets appearing in print ads and on in-store posters.
The Christmas advert (below) follows the same theme – this time featuring a bunch of unknowing punters in Hertfordshire who appear to have been invited to a Christmas meal in a house adorned by a giant prezzie bow.
Cue numerous enthusiastic comments about the quality of the food, including a couple of amusing-when-you-know-the-truth assertions that the food must have come from M&S or Waitrose. At the end of the meal, each guest receives a Christmas card containing festive greetings from Lidl. As per the market ad, everyone is suitably surprised and impressed.
The #LidlSurprises campaign has received critical acclaim in the marketing world, and certainly seems to have done a lot to change opinions and boost sales. There may still be a lot of work to be done to truly free Lidl from its down-market image in the UK, but this advertising campaign is a great start.