It’s a Lidl bit funny: How humour in marketing can help you achieve stand out with your audiences

I love a good cheesy pun –  so when I spotted the parodies of the infamous John Lewis Christmas advert, it brought as much joy to my heart as the ad itself (this year’s Elton John themed one divided opinion in the office but I loved it as always!)

My favourite ‘rip off’ this year has to be Lidl’s ‘it’s a Lidl bit funny’ campaign. Read more here about what they and other brands did.

Not only is it pretty funny, it required quick thinking – the John Lewis Christmas ad had barely started trending and within hours the Lidl ad was popping up in social media news feeds. That’s the beauty of social – if you’ve got a good enough idea, you can knock together a graphic and get it out to your audiences in minutes. Kudos to the senior team for signing off a potentially controversial idea so quickly. And Lidl really are having the last laugh with their ad costing nothing (apart from the hefty Christmas bonus they ought to be paying to whoever in the marketing team came up with it!) in comparison to the millions spent by the brand they are taking the mickey of.

The real beauty of what Lidl has done is the fact that they’ve gone completely against the grain – while all the other major retailers are trying their best to make customers shed a tear with their Christmas ad, Lidl’s SnapBack at John Lewis is making us laugh, but in a subtle way that makes us have to stop and think for a moment – and that is digital marketing gold.

The only danger with using humour and putting out a quick response like this is that it’s done gratuitously for likes and follows but doesn’t really have a business outcome. But Lidl was able to link its joke clearly back to a specific product while reinforcing its key message as a discount retailer – genius!

As someone who works with clients from an awarding body to a toilet roll manufacturer, I have to tread really carefully when it comes to use of humour in campaigns, especially when the subject matter is sensitive, but there have been a couple of occasions when my quick thinking and cheesy sense of humour has had me on a roll (toilet roll!) when it comes to taking a dry subject matter and getting it noticed with a witty (or not so witty) pun. When the opportunity presents itself you have to strike while the iron is hot and the festive season is the best time to do it. Thumbs up Lidl for a great idea that was well executed!

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