17
Feb
10

Advertising in Supermarkets: Britain and German

Luisa joined Vivid London as an intern a month ago to gain new media new media skills. We asked her to compare an aspect of our work that she would experience in her daily life. She chose point of sale promotions in the UK and Germany. Read on!

Special offers versus consistent value for money

Beer, bratwursts and sauerkraut. Sausage, beans, and mash.

If you’re talking about cultural differences, a good place to start is the food we eat every day. Across Europe, supermarkets have become the main source of the food we eat – but that food, and the way it’s promoted and advertised, is still vastly different.

You could say that I’m in the perfect position to notice these differences. I’m from Germany originally, where I’m studying for a degree in commercial communications, but I’ve just started an Internship at Vivid London.

To highlight the differences I’ve noticed, why don’t we take a short trip through a German and a British supermarket?

The main thing you’d notice in a German supermarket would be the fruit and vegetables section. It’s often arranged like a market stall. Each product comes in a ‘normal’ and an ‘organic’ variety. Customers move through the shop slowly, in an anti-clockwise direction.

In Britain, the main thing I noticed was the forest of gaudy yellow signs pointing out this week’s special offers, which confused me at first. I wasn’t used to seeing these blatant ‘buy me’ messages everywhere! On top of that I had to constantly fight my conscience: We don’t have as much junk food in Germany!

Supermarkets are crowded in Britain. This was quite a shock for me: Briton’s are famous the world over for their good manners and affinity for queuing. It’s true; queues are very ordered in the UK, but this order doesn’t carry through to the rest of the shop, with people chaotically rushing through narrow aisles in every direction!

In Germany, it’s normal nowadays for even the most senior of executives to go to a so-called ‘discount’ supermarket with no shame. They may buy their ‘special products’ from a branded chain, but people of all income levels can be found browsing the shelves at their local Aldi, Lidl or Netto.

This isn’t the case in Britain. Campaigns calling for the middle class to ‘change their supermarket, not their lifestyle’ have been less successful: Waitrose and Marks & Spencer still compete for the ‘premium pound’.

There are certainly product differences (It would be hard to convince a German to buy baby food in a tin!), but the overwhelming contrast is promotional: German’s focus on consistent ‘good value’; Briton’s expect ‘buy one, get one free’ offers.

The choice is yours – check out each country’s supermarkets and pick the style you prefer. For me, it would be a mix between the two models.

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