Peter York on Ads: Full-on underclass or clever and retro? Who can say

Lidl

It's everywhere. Not in Big London of course, they couldn't make any money at these rents. But they're everywhere else. "Lee-dirl"; the German supermarket Lidl, the cousin of Aldi and Netto.

It's everywhere. Not in Big London of course, they couldn't make any money at these rents. But they're everywhere else. "Lee-dirl"; the German supermarket Lidl, the cousin of Aldi and Netto.

Lidl is so unsmart, so un-21st-century, so not Choice, and Finest, and Low Salt, and Oak-Smoked, and Jamie Oliver, and all the palaver of middle-class supermarketry. Lee-dirl is dirt cheap and its advertising is primary coloured and jingly and repetitive and everything you're supposed not to do. So much so that it's extremely attractive and will have powerful appeals to the Nathan Barley Shoreditch set (we all wanted that series to work, didn't we?).

Lidl have been running the same basic commercial for ages now. A car pulls up - looking tremendously 1970s, but not on purpose - outside one of Lidl's modestly configured outlets (somewhere rather windblown near a Medway Town, I imagine). Then you get a young woman looking like an anorexic Amanda Holden in a cheap white jacket walking down the primary-coloured aisle pushing her trolley.

That's when they sing "Lee-dirl". It's the Lee-dirl moment and very '70s and Rotters' Club it is too. The rest of the song goes, "Brand new quality, but cheaper". You'd expect supermarket things to be brand new somehow wouldn't you, so what exactly do they mean? There's a long line of soft drinks they say are "up to 50 per cent cheaper". They all look rather feebly bright, in early synthetic, boiled-sweet colours and none of them seems to be quite the brand you're expecting - "Cola" written in a Coke-ish way, and so forth. Is Lee-dirl entirely own-brand, commissioned by Germans and made up in, say, Bulgaria?

On the back of the standard intro and the cheap food (difficult to say how cheap unless you're discounting a big brand or a Known Value Item), Lidl ads feature a wonderfully Lucky Dip range of non-foods. One week it'll be a barbeque, next it'll be one of those wire rack Wardrobe on Wheels affairs (£19.99). Or there's a wicker shelf thing (£24.99). Is it particularly full-on underclass - do the people from Shameless go to Lee-dirl - or rather clever and retro or what?

You certainly see a lot of the Lidl logo which seems to be fashioned from early primary plastics - yellow, blue and red - with the 'i' lying on its side in a naffly desperate way. No wonder the whole thing's such a cult.

Peter@sru.co.uk

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