The Lidl Secret Garden

Retail | Brand Activation | Launch |

Creating a high-impact experience for Lidl Ireland

As part of their business growth strategy, the grocery giant Lidl challenged our team to broaden their appeal beyond a core customer base of price-sensitive shoppers and garner the interest of younger, more affluent people.

Create // Luxury In Lidl 

The brief challenged our event production team to create an experiential event that would reverse the customer’s misconception that Lidl’s offers only entail low-cost, own-brand, less desirable goods. Lidl’s ultimate goal centred around reminding the public that they carry healthy, locally-grown groceries that can be used to cook tasty and wholesome meals. This would attract a younger, more affluent shopper.

Strategically, our creative and production teams collaborated directly with Lidl on engaging this new customer by establishing strong credentials in fresh produce, healthy eating, and cooking great food from scratch. A key challenge in this regard was overcoming the misconception that low cost involves a trade-off regarding quality. Furthermore, we had to dispel any stigma of shopping at Lidl and replace it with a sense of discovery, surprise, and pride.

Experience // The Pop-Up Restaurant 

As a discount retailer, Lidl sometimes has difficulty ensuring that the public perception of their food is one of great quality as well as great value. Their internal PR team tasked us with creating an activity to turn this perception around. Our solution: The Secret Garden.

The Secret Garden was set in Dublin’s Meeting House Square, an indoor/outdoor space for all-weather events. Surrounded by some of the city’s finest restaurants, the IFI, and the Temple Bar Food Market, the Square was the perfect venue for our creative events team to set up shop.

The concept was simple – build up a pop-up restaurant, get two celebrated up-and-coming young chefs to design the menu, and set up an unbranded website to take lunch and dinner bookings. The twist? The meat, the fish, the fruit, the vegetables and every other item on the menu was purchased at Lidl. Customers did not know this ahead of time.

The Secret Garden opened its ivy gates to the public for one week to allow the public to experience the brand. The chefs, handpicked by our team, simmered, chopped, and stirred their magic in their inimitable style throughout the week. The food was met with continuously top ratings, while Twitter and Facebook were buzzing with talk and pictures of the delicious dishes. Social media was very important in broadening the initiative beyond the people who had direct experience, and Catapult established social and digital platforms as an online presence for the event

It fast became a sell-out event. On the last night, a selection of key media was invited for dinner, some of whom had given the pop-up rave reviews in print earlier in the week. As people finished their desserts, the Lidl logo was revealed at the bottom of their plates, and the secret was out. It caused a storm both online and in the traditional media and has gone on to win numerous awards.

Social media allowed the Catapult team to broaden the scope of the event. Over five days, the Lidl Secret Garden generated a total of €12,000 from lunch and dinner bookings. Lidl matched this amount, and €24,000 was donated to Barretstown Children’s Charity.

Impact // A Refreshing Perception 

Social media allowed the Catapult team to broaden the scope of the event. Over five days, the Lidl Secret Garden generated a total of €12,000 from lunch and dinner bookings. Lidl matched this amount, and €24,000 was donated to Barretstown Children’s Charity.

The experience powerfully broadened the appeal of Lidl, favourably shifting how people view the company’s offering.

The Secret Garden was the perfect way for people to try our quality food with an open mind. We wanted to show people that good quality Irish produce does not have to cost the earth. The feedback from guests all week has been astounding
– Claire Moran, Communications Manager, Lidl Ireland

The Secret Garden was massively in demand and was the hottest ticket in Dublin that week. The first seating sold out in a day and a half and the second seating sold out in an hour and a half, shattering all expectations.

The news was revealed to an audience of food critics and journalists on Thursday night, who continued to perpetuate the buzz by sharing their surprise online. It was also met with a hugely positive response from Dublin diners, with Twitter and Facebook abuzz with pictures of its dishes.

Key stats post campaign
3,450 Facebook fans
1,800 Twitter followers
8,478 online engagements over 72 days
Over 80 press articles
A trending topic on Twitter on 8th May (after reveal)
+35,000 views of the video on YouTube
160 people ate every day in the Secret Garden – 800 people over the week
€24,000 raised for Barretstown Children’s Charity 

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Project Credits
  • Event date: 05/05/2014
  • Location: Dublin
  • Client: Lidl Ireland
Catapult Team
  • Event and Production Manager: Steve O'Sullivan
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