Lidl’s 2020 sneakers suspended between communication campaign and artistic performance

Advertising, Branding

Neither Nike with its Air Jordans nor Adidas and its Stan Smiths. The most coveted sneakers of the 2020 summer have been made by… Lidl. Why, you may wonder, are we talking about it in a communication column?
Lidl’s 2020 sneakers suspended between communication campaign and artistic performance
Neither Nike with its Air Jordans nor Adidas and its Stan Smiths. The most coveted sneakers of the 2020 summer have been made by… Lidl.

Neither Nike with its Air Jordans nor Adidas and its Stan Smiths. The most coveted sneakers of the 2020 summer have been made by… Lidl. They are yellow, red and blue and have just the look you might expect from entering the fashion industry of the famous supermarket chain, including the price – just 12.99 euros.

Why, you may wonder, are we talking about it in a communication column? Well because the sneakers in question are an idea of Lidl Belgium and were presented on the market in a particular way: produced in a few hundred pieces, in a few hours they became literally nowhere to be found, causing their perceived value to rocket.

More than a real product in short they are the new social experiment of the German brand,which is not new to thinking and putting into practice communication stunts “out of the box”: someone will remember the opening of the luxury restaurant Dill (brand’s anagram), which in 2013 had gained some fame in Stockholm by serving star dishes at a low price, and then self-declared as an environmental marketing campaign aimed at highlighting the quality of raw materials for sale in the supermarket chain.

But back to sneakers: in Italy we said they are nowhere to be found and the same goes for France, Germany and Great Britain. The only channel to get them appears to be the internet and on sites like ebay have reached stellar prices, up to 500 euros (but there are those who say they have seen them offered even at double that price). How was this possible? With a well-known strategy to one of the coolest streetwear brands of recent years, Supreme. What are we talking about? Of product scarcity, that is few products, squealed all over the world and worn by the most popular influencers, but very difficult to find in stores.

Lidl, in short, did not invent anything, just as it did not invent anything Supreme. “People want more of those things they can have less of” is one of the maxims contained in the famous essay by psychologist Robert Cialdini, who specializes in persuasive techniques. Scarcity is one of the six basic principles behind persuasion (to discover others, we recommend his book).

Lidl has simply put Supreme’s modus operandi into practice, playing with products, consumption patterns and having fun increasing the gap between real value and perceived value.

Thousands of fashion addicts fighting over a designer T-shirt make no news, but it’s different when a similar situation is generated by a pair of cheap shoes produced by a discounter. And that’s exactly why we decided to inaugurate this column/observatory on the most interesting dialogue approaches between brands and consumers – because seeing brands like Lidl in action is always a pleasure, it’s something that like the Funicular “lifts” morale.

Lidl is a bold, unpredictable brand with subtle irony – its most memorable campaigns are reminiscent of artistic performances in which everything is called into question, starting with the consumer’s judgment.

The mere fact that these sneakers are on sale at exorbitant prices is a demonstration of the success of the brand’s strategy. Lidl has succeeded in creating new value for the brand by devising a line of supereconomic but limited edition products and letting it play with the public, focusing on the irony and betting on the irrationality of consumers. That it’s all of us.