Campaign Review: Aldi versus Ampol

In Campaign Review, Mumbrella invites the industry's creatives and strategists to offer their views on recent ad campaigns. For this week's Campaign Review, Mumbrella asked Rizer chief creative officer, Bim Ricketson, and M&C Saatchi group strategy leader, Catherine Mellon, to review the latest work for Aldi from BMF and Ampol's newest spot from Saatchi & Saatchi.

Brand: Aldi

Campaign: Special you can buy

Agency: BMF

The verdict:


Bim Ricketson, chief creative officer at Rizer, gave it an 8/10, saying:

The spot begins in the style of an expansive science documentary, complete with a David Attenborough-like voiceover. We see the big bang, galaxies forming, volcanoes exploding, the evolution of human life, right through to… a bloke in Aldi.

Classic bait-and-switch storytelling, works every time.

‘Wow’ says the everyman, not about to the vastness of the universe, but whatever special item he’s uncovered in the middle aisle.

Contrasting the epic with the everyday like this not only dramatises the benefit, it’s funny. And relatable. As someone who can’t help poking around at Aldi for that one time a year they drop the hagelslag, I feel seen.

I suspect it’s not just me. The BMF team has built the spot on a strong insight – that we all love finding a bargain. Then they’ve had fun with it – which they should, given the brand positioning is ‘Good Different’.

And the line ‘Special you can Buy’, which promotes the current campaign, while reinforcing the brand’s differentiation as the affordable supermarket? That’s the Dutch sprinkles on top.

Catherine Mellon, group strategy lead at M&C Saatchi, gave it an 8/10, saying:

Who doesn’t love an ALDI special buy? A unique proposition for the thrifty thrill-seeker in all of us. ‘Special you can buy’ is a succinct and hardworking platform idea that speaks to the heart of special buys – Both the emotive benefit of finding something special (read; random) and quality products on special. Tick. Done. Nice.

Executionally, it would have been easy to showcase the many random specials that make special buys so interesting, however Aussies are well aware of what’s on offer. Hyperbolising the truth of special buys – there’s special in the absolute mundane – by using the grandiose evolution of life as a road leading to special buys is fun and refreshing to watch while on the couch.

Elevating Special buys from the brochure and in the moment shop to serve as a primary reason to believe for brand is smart. It’s what I love about ALDI advertising – a sharp articulation of why people shop with you, then elevating that message, simply.

With an aversion to good humour at the moment, gosh it’s nice to see. Clear. Fun. Highly watchable.

Brand: Ampol

Campaign: Powering our way of life

Agency: Saatchi and Saatchi

The verdict:

Bim gave it a 9/10, saying:

The first thing that strikes you about this spot is the craft. The camera never stops moving and clever transitions link all the scenes. It’s beautifully done, with fun special effects and the edit is paced perfectly to the chirpy Avalanches-esque soundtrack. You can also see that great consideration has gone into the colour scheme – subtle variations on the red and blue from the brand pop up all the way through, without being too overt. I get the impression that the final spot stays true to the creative intent of the original treatment, which is usually harder than it should be. Full marks to the production team.

Now to the substance.

It must be a rare challenge to relaunch a dormant Australian brand, and imbue it with contemporary currency, while leveraging some heritage everyone has probably forgotten.  Ampol really want us to know they’re a homegrown servo chain. Also, that they’re not just servos.

This is where the strategy starts to show through in the execution. You can almost see the checklist in the brief: must feature at least four relatable audiences (grey nomads – tick, tradies – tick, families, urban professionals – tick, tick). Must demonstrate we are a progressive clean energy company; but don’t alienate the petrol heads. Be quintessentially Australian, but not ocker. Beach, country, suburbs and city please. 4WD, family wagon, truck and an EV – all mandatory. Should be whimsical, but not weird.

For all that, the Saatchi & Saatchi team has made it work. All the audience and messaging boxes are ticked, so the client is happy. Strategy, craft and creative would all be thrilled with the result. The execution is charming and rewatchable.

And overall, you might just believe that Ampol are ‘Australia’s Own’, and more than just a chain of servos, they’re ‘Powering our way of life’. Tick, tick.

Catherine gave it a 4/10, saying:

This is always going to be hard to mark. A cynical lens from the get-go, selling fuel when the world has caught up to the fact that fuel is the bad guy is a tough ask.

Unfortunately, the insight that fuel is what gets Aussies places and powers our emotive journeys, feels outdated. For a business with immense pressure to prove their evolving role in people’s lives, Ampol as a progressive brand doesn’t come through.

The mention of different fuels at the end of the execution comes too late. Executional nods to a reimagined Australian road trip would have shown a brand evolving with and reflecting a more conscious Australia. Show me roadtrip planned on EV charging stations.

That’s not to say that traditional fuel still doesn’t have a place, but this ad focuses so much on the energy of old, when it would have been best served overindexing on the new.

EVs will be compulsory in Canberra by 2030. Our last election was a climate change one.
Australians are having more nuanced conversations about energy and climate. Ampol could be helping a country in transition, influencing new journeys, not reflecting old ones. While I feel empathy for a tough brief, it’s no longer enough to say our fuel gets you places.

As told to Kalila Welch. If you’re a senior creative or strategist who would like to take part in a future Campaign Review, please email


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