Aldi Brings Drama and Laughter to Grocery Ads




It’s safe to say most grocery ads aren’t big on action and drama. We’d also sadly admit that most of them don’t go too large on humor either.

So when a grocery ad turns up which does all three – and gets a message about lower prices across – it’s a cause for celebration here at System1. Leo Burnett’s latest commercial for budget supermarket chain Aldi is a 30 second epic which has audiences grinning even as it lands an important point.

The ad shows a father and daughter in a checkout line at Aldi. The father is getting suspicious, though – the prices are so good, it feels like he must be getting away with something. His paranoia takes over and when he gets a friendly look and smile from the checkout lady he flips and makes a desperate dash for his car like the hero of an action thriller. Behind him, his daughter is pleading that no, Aldi’s prices are always that low.

Every retailer wants to say its prices are low, and every retailer likes to use advertising to show off its latest deals. So if you’re like Aldi, and low prices are the core part of your brand, you have to go the extra mile to get the message over. You can’t just show off your low prices, you have to bring that brand promise to life. And that means entertaining for commercial gain, like Aldi have done here.

Bargain prices aren’t an inherently entertaining subject. They make customers pleased, for sure, but they can also make for dull commercials. So Aldi have taken a standard advertising scenario – a customer is shocked at how good their prices are – and taken it to the absolute max, creating a surreal scenario that has audiences laughing.

Orlando Wood, System1’s Chief Innovation Officer and author of advertising playbook Look Out, identifies humor as one of the key drivers of effective advertising. The best humor is based in incongruity and reversals – like a guy in a checkout line suddenly acting like he’s a fugitive in a cop show. Humor appeals to the right hemisphere of the brain, which loves to make connections and spot patterns – and when those patterns change, as in a joke, the right-brain pays attention. Orlando shows that when an ad gets the attention of the right-brain, it makes the ad more memorable and effective, and this is the underlying reason humor works so well.

By using humor Aldi takes the audience beyond just the short-term, transactional claim and into the realm of long-term branding effectiveness – it scored a 4.3-Star Rating on System1’s Test Your Ad platform, showing strong potential to drive long-term growth.

Of course, the ad is also dynamite when it comes to short-term effectiveness and strength of branding too – it gets Exceptional scores on short-term Star Rating and Brand Fluency. In only 30 seconds, the ad introduces the brand and its main value proposition, dramatises that proposition in a memorable way, and leaves the audience laughing.

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