Few weeks back LIDL started a charity fundraiser for disabled children. They promised they are going to donate the same amount of money that gets raised at the stores. Which is of course great, and they raised some 14 mil. Kč. There was only one problem – the way they did it.
Not sure if it was company policy or some of the cashiers just decided to be overly active, but the whole flow looked like this.
1. You enter the store
2. Buy your stuff
3. Get inte line for the checkout
4. Get you stuff
6. The cashier shouts out loud “WOULD YOU LIKE TO DONATE TO CHARITY?!
Now that’s the problem.
I don’t mind those overly depressing TV ads with starving children in Africa. Those are supposed to touch you on a visceral level. But this strategy was aimed at something worse – shame. I don’t think that most people would donate on their own. But once the cashier said this people looked behind them at the line of people waiting what’s going to happen. And everyone wants to be percieved as a charitable person so of course they donate something. But then you leave the store and instead of thinking “I did something good today” you just feel bad. You were pushed to do something you did not really want to do. So instead of a good feeling there’s shame.
Does LIDL really want their customers to feel shame? Next time the person is deciding where to grocery shop they are probably going to think like this:
1. I can maybe go to LIDL
2. But then I’m going to have to go through this whole uncomfortable situation
3. Better go to TESCO then.
LIDL probably raised a lot more money for disabled children with this approach. But was it worth it considering that a lot of people are going to remember this negative associaton with the brand?
I still do.