Aldi's Pragmatic Cinderella Story for Modern Times

Bibbidi-bobbidi … boo hoo

For discount grocery chain Aldi, TBWA\Paris and director Sebastian Strasser bless us with a Cinderella story for the sneaker set. A young man becomes mesmerized by a woman on the dance floor. But before he can learn her name, she's gone, leaving only a sneaker behind.

Who loses a sneaker? Don't let your suspension of disbelief pop quite yet. This one's kind of cute! And it comes with a nice cover of "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo," interpreted by Coco Bans.

As the tale unfolds in "Cendrillon" (French for Cinderella), the guy embarks on a quest to find the shoe's owner. He uses all the modern tools—like sharing pics on his phone—and some classic ones, such as getting every gal he encounters to try the sneaker on.

An attractive woman he knows does so during a party. But the shoe won't fit. So, our protagonist heads to Aldi, buys some utility cutters, cuts the toe open, then eases it onto this more accessible love interest's foot.

The ad concludes, "Welcome to today's life. Welcome to the new consumers."

Aldi, a German company, launched in France 35 years ago. Discounts, loosely combined with notions of living a practical, modern lifestyle, are built into its DNA. (The name Aldi combines the first two letters of the founding family moniker, Albrecht, with discount).

Still, it's not a brand France knows well. So, the team chose to use a famous tale to stoke recognition.

A few random facts about Cinderella, since we’re here: It's a pretty old story, with the most ancient oral retelling, "Rhodopis" ("Rosy Cheeks"), hailing from ancient Greece. From there, it journeyed through Rome's empire and landed in the collected folklore of Giambattista Basile in Italy, circa 1634. It's been tweaked many times since, and there are variants pretty much all over the world.

The version we know best comes from the French take, "Cendrillon," inscribed by Charles Perrault in 1697. And of course the Grimms in Germany published a much, er, grimmer version in 1812.

The irony of using Cinderella—actually Cendrillon, since this is a French ad—is that Perrault happened to include a couple of morals in the story. One of which is this: "Without doubt it is a great advantage to have intelligence, courage, good breeding and common sense … However, even these may fail to bring you success, without the blessing of a godfather or a godmother."

Basically, being scrappy and nice is cool and all, but it's better to have friends in high places. This is a savvy reinterpretation, in the sense that the guy recognizes he’s not a prince with mad means to find this dream girl, and settles instead for a real woman within reach.

That the last scene happens at Aldi hammers home the metaphor: This isn't your fancy organic corner shop. Shoppers kind of settle for it when they need to pick up a few things. (Though it does have fresh local produce. And a weirdly good alcohol selection.)

A great romance for a recession, actually.

Otherwise, it's cool to see sneakers as the plot device. Urbanites generally share a passion for cool sneaker finds, and Paris is no different. We once asked a guy where he bought his kicks, and he got cagey, then admitted he didn't know because they were a gift from his girlfriend … and she wouldn't tell him. Distinctive sneaks are highly prized in the target market, which brings the story a sweet touch of modern realism.

"Cendrillon" kicks off the campaign "Once Upon a Time, Today's Discount" (which feels like a creative form of settling). The ad will run on TV and online, with radio and social media activations from TBWA Group’s Mogul.

"We fully embrace our discounter model and our price image is completely integrated into the minds of consumers," says Anne-Marie Gaultier, marketing and communications director at Aldi France. "This campaign is the spearhead of a marketing strategy designed to raise awareness and consideration. The world of fairy tales is known to all which will allow us to be immediately identified."

She adds: "We are not about overconsumption. Shopping at Aldi is all about the essentials, with a range of 1,600 references, and favoring quality over quantity. It is the brand that facilitates everyday life!"


ALDI: Anne-Marie Gaultier, Patricia Bouquet, Johanna Ducloux, Constance Verro, Océane Gourbière 

TBWA\Paris: Anne Vincent, Marc Fraissinet, Nicolas Simonnet, Aïcha Kheloufi, Hélène Logeais, Perrine Rodier 

Strategic Planning: Loïc Mercier, Léa Rivoire 

ECD: Benjamin Marchal et Faustin Claverie 

Artistic Director: Sébastien Guinet 
Copywriter: Josselin Pacreau 
Head of Creative Producers and CEO \Else: Maxime Boiron 
Creative Producer: Anne-Claire Girard 
Production: Henry 
Director: Sebastian Strasser 
DOP: Roman Vas'yanov 
Post Producer \Else: Élise Gamboa

Sound Production: \Else  
Head of Music and Sound: Olivier Lefebvre  
Soundtrack Director: Fanny Mithois  
Musique Artistic Director: Ferdinand Huet, Thomas Jacquet  
Sound engineer : Matthieu Seignez 
Business affairs: Marion Le Guluche  

Media Agency: CoSpirit

Social Media agency: Mogul

Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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