When we used the word ‘offensive’ of Lidl in the past, we weren’t being complimentary, as it steadfastly and sometimes rudely refused to engage with the media. That all changed at the end of 2013, when Lidl’s UK MD, Ronny Gottschlich, gave his (and Lidl’s) first-ever interview in the UK - with The Grocer, of course. But it was in 2014 that Lidl really stepped out of Aldi’s shadow, showing a new smart, social and funny side too.

If its first TV ad for Christmas, in 2013, was a bit quirky, as its confidence grew in 2014, the ads and the strategy, made it clear Lidl was courting the middle classes, with a ‘Claret Offensive’ brilliantly executed in store and via press ads and PR.

In September, Gottschlich stepped up the charm further, inviting 160 media types to a lavish dinner at the V&A museum (before revealing via a branded receipt that the cost in a Lidl was £9.96 per head). Gottschlich used the event to premiere a new £20m ad campaign that focused for the first time on Lidl as a brand - showing people shopping at a farmers market, being wowed by the products and the prices, only to discover it was run by Lidl. Another execution - featuring guests being treated to a festive feast - was voted by our panel of experts as the best Christmas ad of the season.

Lidl didn’t just open up on screen. In a Twitter-driven campaign, it reused flattering tweets from consumers in in-store posters and press ads, showing its modernity as a brand. It also showed a talent for quick-wittedness, mocking initiatives from the likes of Morrisons and Sainsbury’s in archly worded press ads.

In 12 months, Lidl has gone from silent to sociable - and the latest sales figures from Nielsen suggest it’s charming customers as much as journalists, growing faster than even Aldi.