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Case #3 Lidl

Welcome back to the Neuromarketing & ad effectiveness series. Two cases down, two more left to go! Here we cover the summary of case#3, the German discounter, LIDL.  Find all summary cases (AH, Jumbo, Plus) below, together with the download option of the full analysis / benchmark report.


This article zooms in on the 2020 summer commercial by LIDL from the German Schwarz Group, a supermarket chain that takes a slightly different approach to marketing. Unlike Albert Heijn or Jumbo, LIDL is known for its discounter-‘pass-the-savings-to-the-consumer’-business model. It’s interesting to see if their summer (TV-)commercial corresponds with their no-frills philosophy. In its 30-second commercial, ‘It’s summer at LIDL!’, the central theme is the spelling of the word summer (in Dutch: ‘zomer’). As an illustration, one of the neuro-recordings of the participants can be found here.

Things Lidl did well

What stands out is that LIDL has kept its TV Commercial really simple. Unlike the AH or Jumbo commercial, there is not much of a storyline here, but the video concept proved to be effective in its own way.

Lidl summer commercial pretesting

1. Evoke frustration and resolve it

This TV commercial proved once more that purposely triggering frustration and then resolving it, is a recipe for engagement. In the commercial, LIDL deploys this strategy by displaying a deformed letter R, followed by a subtle action to restore it: when the letter R appears on screen, the right, diagonal leg is initially longer than it should be. Brain detection showed increased frustration levels. However, it did not necessarily have a negative impact. Participants merely registered the ‘incorrect’ structure. Eye-tracking data and neurofeedback showed that most of the attention was focused on this visual element. When correction was made (moving a popsicle), emotions were restored to normal levels: a clever trick to keep viewers engaged.

    2. Recurring elements

    LIDL’s commercial also showed how recurring elements help to establish coherence between scenes. In this case, a toy airplane is used to signify the letter E but is also used as a recurring element later on. EEG data showed that joy levels rose from the moment the child picked the plane up and threw it over the hedge. In addition, eye-tracking measurements showed that viewers closely followed the movements of the girl and the toy plane. A similar type of recognition was used for both the AH and Jumbo commercials. This shows that this strategy is popular with creatives and useful when tying storylines together.

    Lidl summer commercial pretesting
    Lidl_case3_TVC pretesting

    3. Sound supporting visual cues

    The voiceover in this commercial, or rather, a group of people, calling out the spelling of the word ‘zomer’ as they appeared on screen, positively impacted comprehension. Participants reported that it provided them with useful auditory information, enabling them to better process the visual cues. It also helped to distinguish the shapes as letters in this relatively rapid sequence of scenes. Also, it was an auditive aid to understand that a word was being spelled as the video progressed.

    Even better if…

    In the LIDL commercial, a number of clever tricks were used, especially to increase engagement. Whereas some elements were effective indeed, the video concept could have been improved in terms of emotional impact.

    Zomer Lidl TVC commercial pretesting

    Taking the viewer along

    Overall, coherence between scenes showed to be relatively weak. Viewers didn’t recognize that letters actually related to neighboring gardens, whilst this appeared to be the main concept of the commercial. Furthermore, neurofeedback indicated that viewers had to process a lot of information, experiencing difficulties in focusing. The spelling of the word ‘zomer’ didn’t make any significant emotional impact. EEG data showed that viewers didn’t pay close attention: little frustration or joy was detected. The desired effect of the gardens, therefore, remains unclear. This left the viewers with little to no understanding of the brand values or the promotional message.


    All things taken together, the LIDL commercial contains several strong, engaging elements that have also been proven to be effective in earlier TV commercials. Unfortunately, most viewers didn’t understand the relationship between individual scenes and the helicopter-view of the neighboring backyards.

    After thorough analysis, it can be concluded that the video concept in itself makes sense, but the execution of it was simply inadequate. As a result, we can say that this TVC doesn’t make a strong (emotional) impact on the audience. Drawing from these insights, LIDL could (should) have made adjustments to their commercial to significantly improve both emotional impactfulness and the call-to-action.

    Next week, the fourth and final case will be published: the Plus summer commercial. Enlist below for a full research/benchmark report.

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    This Case is covered more extensively and in depth in a full (benchmark) report, available now Leave your email to have it automatically sent to you.

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    Albert Heijn Case #1

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    Plus Case #4

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