Do your local grocery stores pass off rotten fruit as fresh? Do they overcharge you with impunity? Are they wasting your money and ripping you off?

The country’s newest grocery chain says they are.

It sounds like a harsh assessment. But it’s all part of a brash new ad campaign by upstart Lidl, which is trying to differentiate itself from its larger competitors – by disparaging them.

“Your grocery store is ripping you off,” one ad claims. “Super market = super scam,” another asserts. “They’re wasting your money. Don’t let them waste your money,” a third ad implores.

A new TV commercial (click the video above to play it) features the owners of the fictional Vanhill’s Grocery, a drab store featuring a giant pyramid of apples in the produce section. “Lidl grocery stores don’t have fruit pyramids,” the company chairman complains. “It’s either fruit pyramids, or we start selling apples that are actually fresh,” the CEO responds. Then they and their group of sycophants laugh and laugh.


Several more commercials featuring the money-grubbing Vanhills are expected to air in the East Coast states where Lidl has stores, over the coming weeks and months.

The ads are meant to target “broken and bloated” grocery chains that use “tricks to con consumers into paying more for inferior and inefficient products,” explained campaign creator The Martin Agency.

Lidl was somewhat more diplomatic in explaining its motives for running the ads. “This new campaign is designed to raise awareness about the costly inefficiencies of traditional supermarkets and the savings that Lidl’s streamlined approach brings to customers every day,” said Lidl U.S. director of brand marketing Elina Elvholm. “When customers shop at Lidl, they experience less complexity, lower prices and better quality choices.”

The ads also cite a recent Lidl-funded study that “Lidl is up to 50% cheaper than other grocers”. But that same study also found that competitors tended to set their prices lower whenever a Lidl opened in town, blunting the impact of Lidl’s lower prices. And Lidl doesn’t accept manufacturer’s coupons, so deal-seekers can often find better prices elsewhere.

And those are only some of the challenges that Lidl faces.

Lidl burst onto the scene last June, opening the first of what it hoped would be 100 stores in its first year. But business hasn’t necessarily been booming. Earlier this year, the CEO of Lidl’s German-based parent company called the retailer’s U.S. launch a “catastrophe” and vowed to correct several mistakes that marred Lidl’s American debut. Lidl has since slowed its rate of growth (it currently has 50 U.S. stores, with a 51st to open in South Carolina next month). It’s also looking to open smaller stores with a scaled-back product assortment.

And this is where Lidl finds itself as it launches its edgy new ad campaign. Its previous TV campaign was edgy in its own way, using implied vulgarities to show how pleasantly surprised shoppers are at Lidl’s prices and product quality.

That’s one way to get attention. Whether it helps Lidl to get more business, remains to be seen.


Comments are closed.

Privacy Policy
Disclosure Policy