Lidl’s top marketer in the UK tells The Drum that she’s “not offended” by the ‘German discounter’ label, despite the brand becoming firmly established in the mainstream British consciousness, as it launches the next phase of its ‘anti-advocate’ ad campaign.
Claire Farrant’s hesitance to disassociate from the ‘discounter’ term might come as a surprise given the seismic shift in the UK grocery market. Seemingly cementing its place in the sector, Lidl became the fastest growing supermarket in the most recent quarter, with sales by 13.0% in the 12 weeks to 26 February. It’s fellow ‘discount’ competitor Aldi also saw a substantial sales hike, which pushed it past the Co-op to become the nation’s fifth biggest grocer.
Lidl’s growth is, in part, down to advertising that includes ‘Lidl Surprises’ and more recently ‘Big On Quality, Lidl On Price’, which have gradually worked to introduce UK shoppers to the brand and what it stands for.
Now, as it launches the next phase of marketing in arguably the strongest position it’s ever been in, Farrant insists it isn’t trying to shed its cheap ties.
“I’m not offended by the word discounter,” she told The Drum. “It sets us apart and says we’re doing something special. For us, we’ve perhaps got more to say to the public because in the past we’ve not been known. We’re fairly new to the UK market and coming from Tesco I didn’t really ‘get’ Lidl until I joined.”
That every £1 in £8 spent is in a Lidl or Aldi is “tremendous,” Farrant added, attributing the foothold on “the hard effort of both Aldi and Lidl” in taking the market in the UK, setting things apart and being really clear on low price and communicating it – not delivering complicating promotions or disingenuous discounts.”
But conveying that it’s growing and a more ‘mainstream’ place to shop while still trying to maintain its stance as a pithy young upstart is tricky. It’s why it’s dubbed it’s shift from #LidlSuprises to instead feature an ‘anti-advocate’ in its adverts as an “evolution” rather…