Lidl Christmas dinner offer goes viral on Twitter

BRUSSELS Thu Dec 13, 2012 7:43am EST

A woman begs next to the Lidl supermarket entrance in Barcelona July 14, 2012. REUTERS/Albert Gea

A woman begs next to the Lidl supermarket entrance in Barcelona July 14, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Albert Gea

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Discount retailer Lidl faces a 200,000-euro ($260,000) Christmas dinner bill after an offer of chicken vol-au-vents and ice cream cake for the poor went viral.

The supermarket launched a Twitter campaign in Belgium on Monday, saying it would hand out five four-course Christmas dinners to food banks for each tweet on a hash tag.

Lidl had expected to hand out about 1,000 of the 20-euro dinner packs, consisting of tomato soup, vol-au-vents with chips, an ice-cream cake and chocolates, a spokesman for the German-based company's Belgium unit said on Wednesday.

But local newspapers wrote about the offer and people retweeted using the hash tag - #luxevooriedereen, Dutch for "luxury for everyone".

By the end of the 24-hour campaign, 1,500 people had tweeted, meaning Lidl has to deliver 7,500 dinners. That sparked reports the supermarket had been caught out by its campaign.

To quash such talk, Lidl rounded up the number of dinners to 10,000, and branded the campaign a success.

Lidl said it had not yet decided whether to repeat the exercise next year.

"We've learnt quite a few lessons over the past 48 hours, to say the least," the spokesman said.

($1 = 0.7693 euros)

(Reporting By Ben Deighton. Editing By Sebastian Moffett.)

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