One night last week I was zoned out watching tele, then something made me pay attention. It was the new Aldi ad. Now I bet you think I’m about to tell you about one of their brilliant ‘I like’ comparison ads. Nope.

In fact it took me a minute to realise it was a ‘Favourite things for summer’ Aldi advert. I was fairly convinced it was a Tesco ad until I saw the logo at the end. Some of that was the visual element (white writing on red labels) but it also felt very different from what I’d come to expect from Aldi.

Tesco ad

At the moment Aldi are whipping butt in the retail sector, they have strong growth, stealing market share from the big four and an aggressive expansion plan. Those big four still dominate, Tesco (28.4%), Asda (17.1%), Sainsbury’s (16.4) and Morrisons (10.9) but their combined share is now at its lowest level for ten years and Aldi have 5.3% of the UK market.

So Aldi are doing something very right, tapping into our desire to want more value from our shopping. And because some of the slickness of the bigger supermarkets is missing we feel like we know what we’re getting. It’s more honest, more open, we trust them which is vital when our faith in big companies is fading.

I’m not a loyal shopper, I go where I can find bargains, good quality food and convenience. And I remain a bit ambivalent about Aldi. Loads of mums tell me I need to shop there and I’ve tried it a few times. Those recommendations combined with their previously cheeky TV ads made me try, but haven’t made me stay.

For me the customer experience that starts with the ads isn’t matched by what happens in store. There’s no quirky conversational poster in store, instead you find handwritten signs and the odd bit of staid copy here and there. It seems like a missed opportunity and one they could capitalise on without turning into Tesco.

Handwritten POS Aldi BB

After I saw the newest Aldi ad I wondered if it was a tactic to gain more of the middle market, those who can’t quite see the appeal of Aldi or remain unconvinced and still shop elsewhere. But can you grow and stand out if you look and sound like the competition?

I think it’s clever to try new things but I’d like to see the return of the Aldi ‘like’ ads. And I’d like to see that unique and cheeky tone matched in store. This seems like the perfect time to combine their aggressive growth plans with language that really connects with their customers across every channel. It could be the secret to turning browsers into loyal fans.

Are you an Aldi convert? Or has the Aldi buzz passed you by?