German retailer Aldi - an abbreviation of Albrecht Discount - has led the rapid growth of the so-called "hard discount" sector in the global retail industry, stripping out unnecessary costs to sell a carefully controlled selection of high-volume own-label products at rock-bottom prices, supplemented by a changing selection of "Special Buy" items. Despite the stripped-down offering, Aldi has developed an unlikely position in Germany as one of the country's best-loved institutions, frequented by wealthy bargain-hunters as well as the less well-off. That's largely because of a focus on high quality despite the low pricing. Aldi's products are just as good if not better than third-party brands, and in key segments, its private label products outsell national brands by a considerable margin. The group also has an extensive global profile, with operations as far afield as the US (where it operates Aldi stores as well as the slightly more upscale Trader Joe's chain) and Australia, as well as other European markets. In several countries, not least the UK and Australia, the relentless expansion of Aldi and also its domestic rival Lidl, has resulted in fierce competition with local chains who have struggled to match the German group's prices. Ironically, though, in Germany Aldi has itself come under increasing pressure from local rivals Rewe and Edeka. Aldi is in fact two separate companies, originally established by brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht after WWII. Karl's Aldi Sud operates stores in southern and western Germany, as well as in Austria and Slovenia (under the Hofer brand), Switzerland, Hungary and English-speaking countries including the US, UK, Australia and Ireland. Theo's Aldi Nord manages northern Germany, and other European markets including France, Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark, as well as Trader Joe's in the US. Together they share a footprint of around 12,000 stores. Germany accounts for around a third of that total and the US for 1,950 outlets. Traditionally entirely separate, the two businesses have been increasingly intertwined since 2010. Most purchasing is now managed centrally by an executive board drawn from both companies, and advertising in Germany - the only market where the two businesses operate side by side under the Aldi name - is also coordinated centrally. There have been rumours that a full merger might result. The privately-owned entities, controlled by separate family trusts, don't publish financial information. However combined sales are estimated at around €85bn, of which approximately €23bn is generated in Germany. Torsten Hufnagel is CEO of Aldi Nord; Aldi Sud is run by co-CEOs Matthew Barnes (former head of Aldi UK) and Thomas Ziegler.
Capsule checked 13th October 2020
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Historical profile information for Aldi
Marketer Moves 3rd Aug 2021: New international marketing director at Aldi Nord. See Marketer Moves (members only).
Adbrands Daily Update 9th Nov 2020: "Synchronised Santas". We're going to be more discriminating about which Christmas spots we pick out as an Ad of the Week this holiday season. Good or bad, there's already plenty of the same-old-same-old in general circulation: sentiment and sweetness, tinsel and tackiness. However, BMF's splendid campaign for Aldi in Australia is - as usual - something else again. Australian Christmases are different enough already from the ones we're used to in the Northern hemisphere, but BMF have again slathered theirs with a thick layer of Antipodean craziness. Extensive deployment of low-key but effective CG makes these identical Santas hypnotically disturbing. Someone should carve out that bit of them all diving into a pool at 0:38 for a gif loop. It could drive you insane.
Adbrands Daily Update 11th Nov 2019: "Huettenzauber". From the people who brought you "schadenfreude"... Only the German language would have a single word that specifically describes the magical experience of a winter feast in an Alpine chalet. Yes, seriously, in German that's just one word: Huettenzauber. Scholz & Friends' splendid holiday season spot for Aldi Switzerland shows everything that can possibly go wrong when a city boy tries to catch his own Christmas dinner in the wild. How much easier its is to get it from Aldi.
Adbrands Daily Update 4th Nov 2019: "The Miracle Ham". Aldi in Australia is an early contender for one the year's best Christmas ads with a brilliantly inventive and unusual spot from local creative hot shop BMF. Elsewhere around the globe, Aldi's ads tend to be rather more conventional but in Australia BMF has been going heavy on the quirky for several years, to great effect. Virtually every ad the two companies have produced over the past several years has been memorable in its own way. As a result, Aldi has gobbled away market share from traditional local champions Woolworths and Coles. This latest miniature masterpiece imagines a ham - Australia's traditional Christmas staple - that miraculously never ends. The island of Tasmania does stirling work as the film's lustrous backdrop. A really excellent little fable.
Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Nov 2018: Ads Of The Week: "Santa Crashes Christmas". Australia's BMF hotshop delivers another cracker for Aldi down under. The usual Christmas stuff - tinsel and trees and prezzies - is all well and fine in ads, but it's outliers like this that really make the holiday advertising splurge worthwhile. Kudos to all those clients and agencies that are prepared to try something out of the usual for the holiday season. Clearly Aussies are already used to a summertime Christmas, however odd it might seem to all of us up here in the northern hemisphere, but I think it's fair to say we've never before seen Santa Claus shearing a sheep or being chased out of an outdoor dunnie by a snake.
Adbrands Weekly Update 11th Oct 2018: Ads Of The Week: "Good Different: Loyalty". Aldi has been revolutionising the supermarket business in several markets around the world. Australia is close behind the UK for disruption of the country's traditional operators, in this case the local duopoly of Woolworths and Coles. One key factor has been a long run of fine ads from creative powerhouse BMF, which manages to highlight all of the discounter's advantages with accurately aimed darts of humour against the competition. These are never just funny for funny's sake; funny with a purpose is the motto. Here's another great example, given extra oomph by a fine bit of casting in the case of that checkout girl and her extraordinary eyes. Beware the Coles and Woolworths moonies!
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