Arlington, Va.-based Lidl US launched a cheeky new ad campaign aimed at conventional retailers, claiming they’re “ripping off” customers with high-cost measures like merchandising fruit.

The first of a series of ads for the “Don’t Let Them Waste Your Money” campaign went live featuring a fictional retailer called “Vanhill’s Inc.” and a produce clerk stacking an “Apple Pyramid.” When an employee questions the value in paying someone to stack fruit, the Vanhill CEO says, “Look, it’s either fruit pyramids or we start selling apples that are actually fresh,” and follows with cartoonish laugher.

Lidl’s solution is to show display-ready boxes they call “produce, still in crates from the farm,” loaded directly onto store shelves.

The campaign so far is supported with the 30-second spot, and a few 10-second videos.

The Martin Agency, the creative behind the campaign, said it went “ballistic” with its efforts.

“When you get a chance to work with a brand as fearless and competitive as Lidl, you have to deliver work the category won’t see coming. So we went semi-ballistic and took a cheerful hammer to fruit pyramids and all the other tricks traditional groceries use to make you pay more than you should,” said David Muhlenfield, vice president of The Martin Agency, in a statement.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen aggressive moves from Lidl. Back in July, the company said a lawsuit filed by Kroger was a “spurious claim” and an attempt to “sabotage” the company’s U.S. launch.

Lidl’s recent moves come in a time the company has slowed U.S. openings, and is taking a look at format, size and location as it moves forward in the U.S. Lidl, based in Germany, had planned to operate as many as 100 stores in its first year, but has scaled back those plans amid criticism and speculation from retail observers.

According to a report in Handelsblatt, a German financial news outlet, the company plans to open just 30 stores in 2018. Despite the hiccup with launch, the company reportedly is still on track to open 300+ stores by 2020, according to the report.  


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