I 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.
Let’s take a closer look though, starting with the product that ensnared me. Head and Shoulders look-alike, Head Strong.
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
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…
Hair Culture! Who’s to say who copied who, here? Moving along, they do at least have some authentic Herbal Essences. Except…
Oh 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?
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.
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?
Feel free to post your answers below.