The Martin Agency and Lidl Introduce the Vanhills, Business Moguls at Heart of First Campaign Together

By Lindsay Rittenhouse 

The Martin Agency invites viewers to meet the Vanhills, a new fictitious and seemingly unethical 1 percenter family behind a large chain of supermarkets, as it kicks off its first campaign for the expanding global German discount grocer Lidl, “Don’t Let Them Waste Your Money.”

“This new campaign is designed to raise awareness about the costly inefficiencies of traditional supermarkets and the savings that Lidl’s streamlined approach brings to customers every day,” Elina Elvholm, director of brand marketing at Lidl U.S., said in a statement. “When customers shop at Lidl, they experience less complexity, lower prices and better quality choices.”

“Don’t Let Them Waste Your Money” launched today with its first 30-second video, “Apple Pyramid,” which will be televised in six U.S. states near Lidl locations. The supermarket chain opened its first 20 stores in Virginia and the Carolinas over the summer, with plans to grow its footprint to 100 locations along the East Coast.


The larger campaign encourages consumers to “rethink grocery,” as it persuades them to believe they are “being ripped off” if they shop at any grocer other than Lidl. The Vanhills, for their part, serve as the face of large, “broken and bloated” supermarket chains that use “tricks to con consumers into paying more for inferior and inefficient products,” according to a statement from The Martin Agency.

As we saw from the first ad, the faux Vanhills Inc. chairman Lance Vanhill questions why the company wastes money on employing a worker solely responsible for stacking apples in a pyramid to make them appear fresher. His mother, CEO Kitty Vanhill, scoffs at him, saying: “What do you know about anything? It’s either fruit pyramids or we start selling apples that are actually fresh.”

Kitty Vanhill then pauses, as if she’s considering the preposterous notion, before she and the rest of the gang (including the stock hand) burst out in laughter.

The Vanhills will be worked into a series of TV ads for Lidl in the coming weeks.

“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,” noted David Muhlenfeld, vp and creative director at The Martin Agency. “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.”

Here’s a few other clips carrying the #rethinkgrocery message:


EVP, Chief Commercial Officer: Boudewjn Tiktak
Director of Brand Marketing, Media and Advertising: Elina Elvholm
Senior Marketing Manager: Paula Morris

Agency: The Martin Agency
Chief Creative Officer: Karen Costello
Creative Director: David Muhlenfeld
Associate Creative Directors: Scot Crooker, Mikolas Manulik
Global Account Director: Britta Dougherty
Account Director: Gillian Merrill
Account Supervisor: Cori Kaylor
Group Planning Director: Mike Kelly
Senior Strategic Planner: Cecelia Parrish
Chief Operating Officer: Steve Humble
Executive Content Producer: Brett Alexander
Senior Content Producer: Holly Flaisher
Associate Content Producer: Sara Montgomery
Junior Content Producer: Nicolette Steele
Senior Project Manager: Tatiana Mazzariol
Director of Business Affairs: Kerry Ayers
Business Affairs Manager: Julie Lefton
Senior Financial Affairs Manger: Kelly Clow

Production Company: Tool
Director: Shawn Z
Executive Producer: Brad Johns
Executive Producers/Managing Partners: Oliver Fuselier, Dustin Callif
Head of Production: Amy DeLossa
Producer: Andy Coverdale
Director of Photography: Robert Yeoman

Production Company: Spang TV
Director: Jordan Rodericks
Director of Photography: Phil Dillon
Executive Producer: Melanie Cox
Producer: Amanda Ricks

Editorial: Mondial
Editor: Nick Wurz
Post Producer: Ash Bruce
Assistant Editor: Lane Maloney
Gfx: Liz Lukens
Color: Company3/Billy Gabor
Conform: Will Renton

Music Company: Tiny Lion