Lidl TV adspend accelerates 400% as Tesco and Morrisons tumble

Lidl spent more than double the amount of Tesco in the first half of this year, increasing its marketing investment by a whopping 408% compared with the same period last year, Marketing can reveal.

Ad spend: exclusive data for Marketing shows Lidl ad spend increased 408% in the first six months of 2015 compared with same period last year
Ad spend: exclusive data for Marketing shows Lidl ad spend increased 408% in the first six months of 2015 compared with same period last year

The discounter, which has been shedding its Germanic image with campaigns focusing on quality and 'affordable luxury', spent £26.4m on TV advertising between 4 January and the end of June, exclusive Nielsen data has shown.

Lidl: We have outperformed the market in terms of brand recognition

Whilst TV is just one part of the marketing mix, that figure was more than double the spend of any other major grocer in the UK over the period apart from Asda, which spent £18.1m.

Market leader Tesco spent £12.8m in the first six months of this year on TV ads - less than half Lidl's investment and a 19% drop compared with the same period in 2014. 

Meanwhile, Morrisons had the greatest spending decline of the big four, reducing spend by 23%, while Sainsbury's, which said it connected with customers across a wide range of platforms alongside TV, dipped by 2%. 

M&S, Asda and Aldi all climbers 

Other big climbers were Marks & Spencer (up 109%) thanks to an increase in food and fashion ads, Aldi (up 17%) and Asda (up 11%), which has since resurrected its 'pocket tap' with a series of ads this month.

Lidl marketing and advertising director Arnd Pickhardt told Marketing the figures reflect Lidl's change in marketing focus from "door drop" leafleting to a fully integrated strategy after it announced its first major TV marketing campaign with a £20m ad push in August.

What stands out is the important role of TV ads this year. It's all about the retailers looking to raise their overall image

Pickhardt said marketing had become increasingly important to the business over the past two years and that directing spend to campaigns that highlight quality and taste had let the brand achieve greater "cut through" and improve brand scores.

"We have outperformed the market in terms of brand recognition," he claimed.

Mike Watkins, head of business and retailer insight at Nielsen, said: "What stands out is the important role of TV ads this year. It's all about the retailers looking to raise their overall image and the battle ground being fought on TV is quality and value and changing people's expectations and behaviour. 

A breakthrough opportunity for Lidl

"The key role of advertising is to get more people in store... If you look back to when Lidl Suprises was launched in August, the impact has been that they've got more shoppers and the shoppers are spending more and buying more items," he added, "which is not dissimilar to what Aldi did with Swap & Save three years ago."

While Lidl was focusing on a "breakthrough opportunity", the big four were focusing on refining their messaging, Watkins said, resulting in comparatively lower spend.

The data 

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