U.K. supermarket Lidl would appear to be poking fun at main rival Aldi, in its Christmas ad this year, by creating an adorable "character." But while Aldi has for many years featured ads beloved Kevin the Carrot, Lidl's "Lidl Bear" is a more complex character.
The story in the ad created by Accenture Song (formerly Karmarama) begins when a dad accidentally shrinks his Lidl sweater in the wash, and his young daughter has the ingenious idea of putting it on her teddy bear. "We never intended to create a Christmas character," says the voiceover. "It just happened."
Then, the ad goes on to become a cautionary tale, as the bear, with its deadpan expression, becomes a superstar in true 2022 style, with his own influencer-style TikTok videos, bestselling autobiography, fashion magazine covers and even a celebrity scandal in which he gets into a limo with a model. As he lives it up on a private jet, the little girl misses her bear. And of course, in true heartwarming festive ad fashion, he comes home for Christmas day. The ad, which was directed by Hungry Man's David Kerr, concludes with the tagline: "Big hug. Tasty food. Narrative complete."
While traditionally cuddly toys in Christmas ads are a kick-off point for merchandise, Lidl is at pains to point out that rather than being sold in its stores, "Lidl Bear" will be instead the symbol of its Christmas toy bank donation drive, ensuring that every child is able to receive a toy this year.
“What stands Lidl Bear apart from other Christmas characters is its hilarious, deadpan expression," said Claire Farrant, marketing director at Lidl GB. "By displaying no emotion it manages to create humor and deliver our message about what’s actually important this Christmas. You also won’t be seeing Lidl Bear for sale in any of our stores – because, in the face of unrealistic Christmas expectations and pressure, we know what really matters is being with the people we care about.”
Nik Studzinski, Accenture Song Chief Creative Officer, added: “At its heart, this year’s Lidl Christmas campaign is a cautionary tale told through the eyes of a little girl’s teddy bear, urging us to hold on tight to the things that really matter. Being with the people you love and sharing some delicious, great value food. In short, a Christmas you can really believe in.”
As advertisers try to balance fun with mindfulness of financial concerns this year, it's a timely message, and Lidl's cheeky take on the Christmas ad tradition is a fun one -- now over to you, Aldi.