Lidl US has released a multiplatform advertising campaign caricaturing what it called the “broken and bloated supermarket shopping experience many Americans face,” and highlighting a better experience and lower costs in its stores.
Titled “Don’t Let Them Waste Your Money,” the campaign was created in partnership with the Martin Agency, the Richmond, Va.-based creative firm known for its humorous Geico insurance ads, and includes television and radio commercials, billboards and truck wraps. The ads began airing in six states on Thursday.
The campaign is the first for the German hard discounter since opening its debut U.S. stores last June, although the company has previously produced web ads, sales flyers and other consumer outreach around its opening. Lidl's media spots come at a time when new store opening buzz has subsided and a retooling of its store model is believed to be underway, based on results of its initial rollout. The timing is also in response to competitors adjusting to its arrival, primarily by having lowered prices in areas where Lidl stores exist.
The campaign additionally builds on a company-commissioned study released earlier this year quantifying this so-called “Lidl effect,” lampooning the supermarket culture it intends to disrupt.
The first TV ad, known as “The Apple Pyramid,” features a group of executives from a fictitious supermarket chain, Vanhill’s Inc., standing around an employee as he erects an enormous pyramid of apples. When one of the family executives questions the value in this practice, the mother and CEO of Vanhill’s reprimands him by saying they have to make the apples look fresh somehow. She then muses aloud about the alternative of actually carrying fresh apples, pauses to let the idea sink in, and erupts in diabolical laughter.
The Vanhills will be featured in additional TV ads in the weeks ahead, and in a series of radio commercials disguised as interviews with CEO Kitty Vanhill.
“When you get a chance to work with a brand as fearless and competitive as Lidl, you have to deliver work the category won’t see coming,” said David Muhlenfeld, VP and creative director for the Martin Agency. “So we went semi-ballistic and took a cheerful hammer to fruit pyramids and all the other tricks traditional groceries use to make you pay more than you should.”