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Lidl: Is the Drop a good strategy to connect mass consumption with the new generations?

06/03/2021| Camila Mohr| 5 min

IN ONE SENTENCE:

The old notions of aspirationalism established by brands are being broken down, opening us up to new ways of seeing the world, in a more ironic, contradictory and critical way.


THE GREAT STRATEGIC TAKEOUT:

Mass consumption brand strategies need to be reinterpreted to connect with the values of the new generations, and drops are a key resource for most categories.


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Why it is interesting:

The way we consume is evolving alongside the growth and the establishment of new generations:

What is the point of consumption for generations that have grown up between periods of constant economic, social and environmental crises? Or, what do the younger generations think about brands when they have universal access to information and opinions about them?

We have chosen the case of Lidl as an example of a brand that, from an understanding of the emerging contemporary consumer, has been able to connect with the new generations without losing its long-standing targets.

It is all interesting, right from the start: in April 2020, the Lidl supermarket chain in Germany announced that it would be launching a collection of clothing and accessories branded with its logo, as if it were an iconic fashion brand. Lidl’s social media followers did not suspect that, in fact, it was an April Fools’ joke.

Such was the public’s response that, once it was revealed that the information was false, customers began to request the collection, making it viral before it even existed. And so, Lidl dropped red, yellow and blue sneakers, sandals, t-shirts and socks in some markets, which became iconic items.

What can we learn from this?

  • The drop is a resource that has a different meaning depending on the reader: for those who have been Lidl customers all their lives, it is transparent. And for the new generations, who connect with values like irony, it will attract their attention.
  • The drop as a contradictory resource coming from a supermarket: it is about using actions that connect 100% with targets who would not be the ones looking for that type of thing from brands like Lidl.
  • The drop as a critical resource: irony and mockery constitute the universal language of this generation and its native land of the internet, and it has been transferred to all consumption. Lidl has captured the insight that “fashion bought in supermarkets is tacky”, and it has made this a strategy that connects completely to young people, who consider anything that is seen as tacky or ugly by others to be stylish and fashionable for them.
  • The drop as an expression of the ephemeral: while its contribution to brand power is incremental (if it is done well), the very existence of the drop is ephemeral, so the brand can move on to new objectives and actions without having to “carry” this edition or proposal permanently.

This strategy has helped Lidl to become the sixth largest company in terms of number of shoppers in the fashion category in Spain in 2020, according to a study published by Kantar. And it shows us that it is a brand that is fully contemporary and aware of the environment in which it operates.


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