Aldi: The Like Brands campaign

Principal authors: Ian Lloyd Jones and Sibel Akel Saoulli, McCann Manchester

This paper tells the story of how an unusual creative communications strategy helped transform Aldi from retail underdog to fastest growing supermarket chain in the UK, along the way creating the UK's favourite TV ad of 20111.

Martial arts such as Judo and Ju-jitsu are well known for using an opponent's force against them, borrowing and redirecting their power so that even a stronger attacker can be disarmed. Aldi faced much larger opponents in the Big 4 supermarkets – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons – and it was beginning to lose the tussle. Appropriate then, to see if martial arts thinking could help gain the upper hand in marketing communications against competitors with much greater resources.

The 'Like Brands' campaign was introduced in February 2011, and propelled Aldi's market share growth from a virtual standstill to +43%2 up on previous year.