Aldi: Invasion of the Brand Snatchers

aldi branding advertising exampleI was bowling around Aldi earlier, like you do, when I spotted some Head and Shoulders shampoo. I needed some of that (I don’t mind admitting it, that’s the first stage to overcoming dandruff) and scurried over to get some. I’d stumbled into the oldest gun in Aldi’s arsenal. Why, that wasn’t Head and Shoulders at all. I should’ve known better. It was Head Strong all along. But still, they won me over with their audacious attempt to trick me. No I didn’t buy it, but I had a little chortle and took a bunch of pictures to share the genius of their mimicry branding techniques.

Delving into the shelves

Here’s a fun game! Take a look at the picture below and see how many popular high-street brands you can see floating about in Aldi’s toiletry section. Here’s a clue: none.

aldi products

Let’s take a closer look though, starting with the product that ensnared me. Head and Shoulders look-alike, Head Strong.

alternative head and shoulders

It’s an example of advertising a product by quite blatantly jumping on the back of a popular brand. It effectively works on two different levels: for some, it tricks them into thinking they’ve actually got the real thing, and they blissfully bathe in a shower of their own ignorance. For others, it looks so much like the real thing that they hope it’ll trick guests in their home into thinking they buy known brands. Spying it only with a passing glance, no one will know that they buy Head Strong and not Head and Shoulders. Unless people notice their failing scalp.

What I especially like about this branding trick, though, is the way they have gone so far as to recreate the two designs, with one bottle inverted (see the centre of the image). Except that most of the inverted bottles aren’t positioned correctly so all the text is upside down.

Other exciting brands on offer in Aldi

More aldi shelves

After my disappointment with the Head Strong shampoo, I was delighted to see that they had the ordinarily expensive Tresemme for only 95p. Wait, no. That’s…

shampoo branding

Hair Culture! Who’s to say who copied who, here? Moving along, they do at least have some authentic Herbal Essences. Except…

advertising brands shampooOh no, it’s just Herbals. They were particular devious here because look, in the original Herbal Essences the bottle with a bulge at the bottom is the clear one, whilst in Aldi’s version they’re all the same slightly ambiguous shape. Props to the copywriter who thought of changing Herbal to Herbals, too.

Moving on, a little way down the shelf we find ourselves some Radox shower gel. Or is it? 

aldi radoxNo my friends, that’s Aquav you’re looking at. But it’s like looking in a mirror. 

In case all this trickery brings you close to tears, take solace in the fact that at least Aldi stock genuine branded Kleenex tissues to dry your eyes.

kleenex alternative

Well well. You win this round, Aldi.

If nothing else, trying to spot Aldi brands and compare them to their high-street counterparts is a fun game. It makes shopping much more exciting. If you don’t believe me, here’s a few more of their products for you to test yourself. What brands are these?

wash and go aldi

advertising example brands

bodywash branding

Feel free to post your answers below.

Disclaimer: Please note this article was written in jest, I am aware that these products are available under private labels and linked to the original manufacturers.

6 responses to “Aldi: Invasion of the Brand Snatchers

  1. This is brilliant, a very enjoyable and amusing read.

  2. Thanks Ginny glad you liked it. It’s important to stay vigilant in supermarkets.

  3. DOVE! 😐

  4. Take a walk around the cereal isle.
    It’s illuminating. And the drinks. Fruit Shots are my personal favourite homage. just legally different with the omission of one ‘o’.

  5. Take a walk through Aldi in France and they do the same thing copying French brands. Take a look at their packed slice ham next time you are there!

  6. Wandering down the haircare aisle you suddenly stopped. What was that, there—right there—in the distance? A figure, basket in hand, inspecting the Head Strong range. A man so familiar it sent shivers down your spine. In awe, you moved closer. He picked up a bottle of anti-dandruff shampoo. Citrus. It was you. It was unmistakably you. But in a slightly different shirt, with a slightly different haircut, and cheaper.

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