Opening up my Guardian on Saturday and what should drop out but one of those lifestyle ad-mags – all high-quality stock, bright colours and clean, plenty-of-white-space design. Positively reeked Waitrose. But no. Lidl. One of our brace of German stack it high sell it cheap retailers moving confidently out from the beachhead of decent quality at low prices, looking to establish a presence in the hearts of the nation. Or at least, the pockets of Guardian readers.
Done a good job too. The only slightly jarring note being the garish cheap ‘n cheerful logo, whose days must surely now be numbered.
During a lively discussion with my daughter – currently doing A levels in both English & Philosophy – around how words have meanings, and what determines the meanings they have (“the meaning of a word is its use in the language” – Wittgenstein), as well as the fact that words have not just meanings but connotations, associations – how they broadcast (or betray) social standing and the like, I grabbed some coriander from the fridge, to discover:
“Potent, pungent and particularly pretty coriander crowns a curry.”
“That,” I said, “is the voice of a brand with confidence. A brand that knows exactly who its target audience is, and is relaxed enough to address them in a very singular tone of voice. They’re not actually conveying information about coriander. What they’re doing is having a bit of fun with the language, playing with alliteration, and effectively saying to their customers ‘this is fun, isn’t it? We know you’ll appreciate this (like we do) because you’re educated, literate, and have a sense of humour. You’re a Waitrose person”
“One of the family.” said my daughter.