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Aldi launches surprise creative review out of McCann

If you’re at McCann Manchester you might be a touch aggrieved this morning as news emerges that flagship client Aldi is reviewing its creative account through ISBA. Aldi, along with fellow German discounter Lidl, has been stuffing its UK competitors for the past few years and McCanns’ quirkily humorous advertising has played a big part although its current Christmas campaign is nothing to write home about.

Aldi says: “We are working with ISBA to identify agencies that we may wish to add to our roster as Aldi continues to grow. Our intention is to build on the success of the marketing activity we have developed with McCann Manchester over many years. McCann remains an important partner to Aldi.”

Which is polite anyway and it’s possible that McCann will keep some work while somebody else does the big brand building stuff. There seem to be itchy client feet across Manchester, the Co-op is also reviewing its account with Leo Burnett even though Burnett’s Christmas effort is one of the best around. It wouldn’t be that much of surprise if the two competing retailers just swapped horses.

The grass always appears greener somewhere else for many clients, no matter how well they’re doing. Aldi is busily expanding into the south of the country with bigger stores carrying more lines and, in all probability, convenience stores and a much bigger online presence. Bigger stores with more lines makes steep discounting harder though – as the likes of Asda and Tesco have learned.

Even so, expansion means a bigger ad budget too and all the London agencies that can take Aldi on will be sending Christmas hampers to ISBA (in its day job the advertisers’ trade body). Now who hasn’t got a big supermarket? If you take out the agencies pitching for Morrisons across the Pennines – CHI, Grey, J Walter Thompson, Publicis and WCRS – there aren’t many biggies uncommitted. If I were Morrisons I’d make a decision PDQ or some of these might change their mind.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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