Aldi’s marketing focusing on healthy eating sat well with Team GB fans and athletes alike, its brand narrative at the heart of every message


Total Brand Agility Index points: 85/150

Medal: Gold

Aldi is a brand we regularly track with our Brand Agility Index and, after its surprise win during the Christmas retail period with its take on the John Lewis advert, all eyes were on Aldi to see what it would come out with in support of Team GB.

If you want to be successful at the Olympic Games from a brand perspective, it is all about having a strong story, engaging content and the ability to live in the now with real-time responses to all that was happening at the Games. Not only did Aldi do all of this, but it kept its over-arching brand narrative at the core of every story or mention – one of the few sponsors to do this well.

In the face of the negative criticism from the media towards brands such as McDonalds, Cadbury’s and Coca-Cola for sponsoring a sports event, Aldi’s clear and concise positioning of itself as a supplier of healthy and affordable meals sat well with fans and athletes alike.

This brand affinity was further bolstered by its #FreebieFriday give-aways and its #HomeGrownHeroes campaign which linked the story of Team GB athletes to Aldi’s own story of championing local suppliers. It was a brand marriage made in heaven.

Of course, the brand didn’t stop there. The store also did well in its ability to quickly produce and post content celebrating the victories of Team GB athletes which in turn helped foster national pride and helped drive high volumes of engagement within social media

To sum up Aldi’s success as a standout brand: they stuck to their message throughout, provided a clear and engaging content plan that aligned to its bigger brand purpose and remained agile at all times.



Total Brand Agility Index points: 65/150

Medal: Silver

In our eyes DFS was a surprise and unlikely Olympic team sponsor and while it had a slight false start in its pre-event activation, the brand did turn things around to put in a solid performance.

Unlike some of the bigger Team GB sponsors, DFS failed to use the week building up to the opening ceremony to get some strong content placements out of the starting blocks. However, once the Games started, DFS certainly shifted up a gear.

As with Aldi, DFS worked hard to weave its brand narrative into the many discussions relating to sport, which for a furniture manufacturer is not an easy feat. However, by building on its narrative of ‘quality workmanship’ it effectively bridged to a story highlighting the workmanship an athlete must put into its training in order to perform at an Olympic level.

As a result, its #GreatBrits campaign received a fair amount of attention and provided DFS with a hook to use with every celebratory tweet and post, that it then broadcast to successful Team GB athletes. This was such a good choice of hashtags that even competing brands and social media users began using the hashtag far and wide, thus ensuring the DFS brand was everywhere.

What stopped DFS from achieving gold was its focus on pushing its products too hard. While the #GreatBrits campaigns allowed them to be part of many relevant conversations, when it began to position itself as the homeware provider of choice and reminding consumers that watching the Olympics obviously requires a great sofa to sit on, its message became too self-servicing to be 100% credible.

To surmise DFS’ performance – it was a shaky start but it put in a strong performance halfway through the event, although it ultimately failed to keep momentum going until the very end.

  • Gareth Davies is head of digital and insight for EMEA at WE Worldwide Communications