Aldi Team GB

With one year to go until the Rio Olympics in 2016, Aldi is set to launch a huge advertising campaign based on its sponsorship of Team GB.

The campaign, which will launch this week with wraparounds in the national press and display ads in the broadsheets, will be based around highlighting Aldi’s British credentials.

They will include its 100% fresh British meat across a core range of 70 SKUs, that it was the first retailer to sign up to the NFU’s Fruit and Veg pledge, and that it sources around 40% of fresh produce from Britain, a figure it says increases to 60%  during summer. Aldi also topped the 2015 Groceries Code Adjudicator survey.

“We heard about Team GB looking for sponsorship in a number of categories and realised the chemistry was going to work,” Aldi’s joint MD for buying, Tony Baines told The Grocer.

“It’s very exciting for us. I’ve been in this business a long time and we have gone from a brand that was seen as predominantly German to very much a British supermarket, albeit with a German owner,” he added. “But our emphasis is on being British. If you take our buying team we are all home grown, and we know what British taste is about. We still get called the German discounters in the press but we feel properly part of the furniture of British retail now, and being the first supermarket to sponsor Team GB helps us cement that with consumers.”

Fellow joint MD for corporate buying Jonathan Neale said: “We are very proud internally of our British credentials, our investment in the economy and our British sourcing. On top of that we employ 27,000 people in Britain, and we have plans for another 35,000 on top of that over the next seven years.”

As part of the ad campaign, which it plans to build upon throughout the year, Aldi will support a healthy eating programme in 25,000 schools, launch an online TV platform called The Taste Kitchen (which will share recipes from six Olympians designed to improve mental and physical health) and support Team GB’s Homegrown Heroes initiative, which will encourage the public to support local Olympic hopefuls. Six athletes will act as the face of Aldi’s campaign, including boxer Nicola Adams, BMX cyclist Liam Phillips, pentathlete Samantha Murray, diver Jack Laugher, taekwondo gold winner Jade Jones and gymnast Dan Purvis.

As well as customer facing campaigns, Team GB athletes have also been working with Aldi staff.

“Internally, athletes have joined our regional teams and competed with them on cycling and rowing machines,” said Neale. “They have also given presentations about what makes successful teams and the importance of dedication and commitment, all themes aligned very closely with our own.”

Baines added that Aldi is also supporting a Team GB initiative called Gold Club, where it will hand out Aldi vouchers to 350 Team GB athletes. “Each of the athletes will get £25 a month to spend on Aldi food for 12 months, so it’s quite an investment for us. We will leverage that in terms of creating healthy recipes to be a gold medal winner. And we have seen the athletes going into their local stores and creating quite a lot of interest.”

It’s been reported that the sponsorship cost Aldi £10m, but Neale declined to confirm the figure. “We don’t like to talk about the numbers,” he said. “But Team GB is one of only two teams globally who are fully supported outside of their governmental structures, so we are very proud of the role we can play in that. It allows our athletes to focus their energies on competing successfully at the Olympics, rather than fundraising.”

Bill Sweeney, CEO of the British Olympic Association, added: “As we reach one year to go until the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the support of Aldi is vital in ensuring that our athletes heading to Rio are as best prepared for the Games as they can be and feel a great wave of support knowing that the nation is with them, inspiring them to achieve great performances at Rio 2016.”