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ALDI champions collecting money, not collectibles

October 2021

ALDI has successfully carved out a niche for itself amongst Australia’s major grocers, cultivating a reputation for being ‘different’ — in terms of advertising style, products, pricing, and overall shopping experience. While previous testing has shown that the brand’s general style of communication doesn’t always emotionally resonate with the wider population (and, in fact, rubs many of them up the wrong way), that it stands out and gets noticed can’t be denied.

In response to the major supermarkets offering plastic collectible toys to entice shoppers — particularly families — ALDI took the opportunity to highlight the exploitative nature of these add-ons, doing so in the brand’s typically fun and irreverent way.

Depicting a middle-aged man grocery shopping being overwhelmed by miniature toys, ALDI’s ‘Escape the Collectibles’ made a powerful statement about Coles’ and Woolworths’ practices.

But, would some shoppers — particularly those with children — feel as though it was an attack on them personally? We tested the ad amongst grocery buyers to find out, using our three C’s framework:

  • Captivate: Does it stand out and grab attention?
  • Connect: Does it instantly recall the brand?
  • Compel: Does it motivate behavioral change?

Captivate

For years, ALDI Australia has crafted quirky and provocative advertising that successfully stands out and demands viewers’ attention (including last Christmas’ surreal ‘Synchronised Santas’). ‘Escape the Collectibles’ was no exception, with many enjoying the light-hearted story featuring cute-yet-creepy possessed figurines.

While poking fun at the major retailers drew a wry smile from many shoppers, others were put off by the perceived attack on families and children for which these promotions bring much happiness. This was exacerbated by the use of horror movie tropes; ultimately making for a distinctive, yet not universally enjoyed, viewing experience. 

ALDI - Escape the Collectibles - Ad Testing - Captivate


Connect

While ALDI has cultivated a reputation for its abstract and quirky advertising style, varying levels of zaniness across campaigns has impeded how successfully it’s bedded-in as a branding cue. Oftentimes, the brand’s Christmas communications have been out-of-step with their regular retail advertising style, causing a disconnect for shoppers and impeding effectiveness.

‘Escape the Collectibles’ attempted to build greater fluency through the supermarket setting and contextually-relevant messaging. While this certainly made it look and feel a lot more like what people typically expect to see from ALDI (and significantly better in this respect than previous Christmas communications), where it fell-down a little was the brand’s structural role in the story.

For those not as well-versed in how ALDI normally likes to go about things, ensuring the brand plays a role in driving the narrative is key. Here, the most salient moments were the toy dolls attacking the man and chasing him out the door, with less than a quarter explicitly connecting what this had to do with (or was trying to say about) ALDI.

ALDI - Escape the Collectibles - Advertising Testing - Connect


Compel

The intended messaging around ALDI being transparent, gimmick-free, and offering always-low prices was consistent with the brand’s entrenched positioning, as was presenting themselves as the antithesis to the big supermarket ‘goliaths’.

However, without a strong structural resolve featuring the brand, takeaway of helping customers save money — and consequently consideration to shop at ALDI — was diluted. This was despite the ad’s success in differentiating the brand.

Importantly, without featuring an inspiring or uplifting resolve — instead concluding with the man looking shaken up and disgruntled — the ad didn’t leave people feeling overly positive toward ALDI.

ALDI - Escape the Collectibles - Ad Testing - Compel


What’s the learning for marketers?

‘Escape the Collectibles’ was a clear step-up on the brand’s Christmas communications, highlighting that ALDI’s more retail-orientated campaigns are where it’s having most success. It’s also a testament to the creative process beginning with a relatable insight.

However, we believe there’s two crucial opportunities for ALDI to boost performance even further:

  1. Leaving viewers feeling good about the brand is a prerequisite for all advertising — in order to attract people to it, rather than just away from everyone else. Ensure the resolve delights, surprises, or leaves people with a smile on their faces.
  2. To ensure the brand’s role in conveying the message is clear, we’d recommend featuring ALDI as part of the resolve (e.g., the man being chased across the road to ALDI to seek refuge). This will help cement in viewers’ minds why the retailer offers a better way to shop.
ALDI - Escape the Collectibles - Ad Testing - Performance Summary

This is a self-funded case study using our Ad Testing solution.

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