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Aldi Christmas TV Ad Parody – Is Competitor Bashing Ever OK

Aldi TV Christmas Commercial Competitor Advertising

Goodness – who knew a telescope was going to be the must have Christmas present for 2015. Not sure what planet I’m on but I didn’t see that one trending.

For those not in the know, a few days ago Aldi launched a TV commercial which parodied the John Lewis #manonthemoon TV ad. But instead of a forlorn lonely old man with tears in his eyes, this version brings some festive joy as granny Jean from a previous ad, comes floating in on a sea of balloons.

I have had the privilege of working on some of the most iconic TV commercials whilst working in senior marketing communication roles in corporate land and know the complexities and legal hoops a brand has to jump through to get their message out. So does this one hit the spot? Well here are my thoughts.


 1) It helps to differentiate them from Lidl

As a brand owner you want to have clear space between yourself and your nearest competitor. There is nothing worse than going out on the high street to research a campaign only to find the consumer loves the creative but they cant remember which brand its for.  We call this brand mis attribution.

And this is where they have scored big time. This grabbed my attention and held it. Its funny and there is no doubt now that Like Brand. Only Cheaper belongs to Aldi.


2) Its all about the buzz!

This has got people talking – YouTube, in the work place, trade press, out on the street it seems like John Lewis has been knocked off the top spot somewhat by the Aldi buzz. Don’t get me wrong I like the John Lewis ad. In particular the fact they gave Age UK a chance to air a very poignant message about loneliness at Christmas. But Aldi with this clever piece of creative has produced an iconic advert in its own right that has made it the topic of conversation across all the social media channels.


 3) Be careful though!

There is a very fine line to tread when producing comparison ads of any kind whether that’s on or offline. Working in the grocery retail sector for many years I know that research and metrics told us consumers are turned off by brands that aggressively bash their competitor. They see it as a lazy way of advertising.

But this spoof ad is done in a light hearted way and I believe (accordingly to press reports) has been given a thumbs up by the team from John Lewis. You know the saying – imitation is a form of flattery.

But be careful what you say. The worse thing a comparison ad should do is mislead. At the time of writing I hear there is now some dispute about whether the products in question are like for like which I will leave to their brand teams to sort out.


So I hope this comparison ad will be remembered for the right reasons – a clever and creative spoof which has so far created positive brand buzz. Time will tell what it has done to their sales so watch this space.  Come and take a visit across to twitter for more views and examples of stand out marketing @buttonmktg 


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