An oral history of Lidl’s ‘Big on quality, Lidl on price’ slogan

First launched in 2017, the slogan aimed to reinforce the supermarket’s positioning as a quality supermarket. CR talks to the writer of the punny line to find out what went into its creation

The first UK Lidl store opened its doors in 1994 and 25 years later, the chain now has more than 800 stores. While people may have initially been lured in by the random, chaotic energy of the supermarket’s famous ‘middle aisle’, they’ve stayed for their weekly shop and beyond, allowing it to become serious competition for the so-called ‘big four’ – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons. 

Part of this growth can be attributed to the various ad and marketing campaigns they’ve launched over the years, with ‘Big on quality, Lidl on price’ being one of their most successful ideas. When Lidl launched this strapline in 2017, it aimed to reinforce its positioning as a quality supermarket. At the time, Lidl had been running its #LidlSurprises line since 2013 and though successful, the supermarket were still working hard to convince customers and would-be shoppers that the food wasn’t just cheap but it was also up to standard. 

The ‘Big on quality’ line is still being used today and was created at TBWA\London. Its success contributed towards the agency being awarded an IPA Effectiveness Gold in 2018, as well as helping Lidl regularly be called “the fastest growing supermarket” in market research company Kantar’s rankings. 

To get an insight into how a line like this is created, we spoke to Ant Jackson, marketing manager turned creative copywriter, who penned the line three years ago when she was part of a junior team working on an array of briefs for Lidl. Jackson now works as a senior copywriter at Mirum London, and here she reflects on her creative process, the importance of creating a memorable strapline when the competition is so big, and why puns should be embraced, not ditched.