Last year, on an early autumnal evening in Finland, I found myself in one of those rare situations where I was actually watching television. And by television I don’t mean Netflix or Apple TV, but actually scheduled broadcasting where you have to watch the show when the network decides to air it. I can’t remember what I was watching, but I do remember the advertising break.
At first I had forgotten that traditional TV has regular interruptions where they show you advertisements (which you can’t even skip after five seconds) so I decided to get up and make myself a cup of tea. But as I did, something caught my attention.
The screen faded to black and white. Faces of athletes appeared as they prepared to go into battle. A deep voice filled the living room. Stirring music rose.
Is this a new Nike ad? I thought to myself. Or Adidas perhaps?
Then I noticed the three sports it featured; swimming, athletics, and orienteering.
Surely Nike would never make an ad featuring orienteering; not even here in Finland where it’s somewhat popular. But neither would any other sports apparel brand for that matter. But it sure has the production value of something they’d make.
Then, as the ad drew to a close, the company logo was revealed.
My world was rocked.
For those of you who don’t live in Europe, Lidl is a German discount supermarket where the prices are as low as the products are stacked high, still sitting in their original delivery cartons.
Yet this advertisement for their sports nutrition product line was so elegant, powerful, and aspirational. And this is precisely what made it so surprising; the gulf between the Lidl brand perception in my mind and the brand message delivered in that ad was vast.
So by this point I had completely forgotten about the TV show I was watching – and the cup of tea for that matter – and all I wanted to do was get on my running shoes and head out to into the forest…
Currently the ads have been viewed over half a million times, and while that may not seem like a huge amount, it’s extremely impressive for the Finnish subsidiary of a German discount supermarket where the local population is a shade under 5.5 million.
So congratulations to Lidl Finland; you win TSMP’s Sports Ad of the Year for 2015!
The three athletes featured in the video were:
Ari-Pekka Liukkonen, swimmer.
Matilda Bogdanoff, hurdler.
Mårten Boström, orienteer.
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