Battle of the Budget Supermarket Summer Adverts: a video eye-tracking study

August 30, 2019 9:17 am

Battle of the Budget Supermarket Summer Adverts: a video eye-tracking study



What makes a good food advert? You wouldn’t be wrong for thinking ‘the food’. But we did a bit of research and found out there are a few more things that go into making an enticing and engaging food advert than just the food itself.

With summer seemingly still in full swing (for now), we decided to investigate reactions to two well-known budget supermarkets’ summer advertisements. Armed with eye-tracking and big boxes of Celebrations, we recruited participants guerrilla-style and put them in front of Aldi and Lidl’s 2018 summer adverts promoting their BBQ products. We wanted to know which one was more engaging and which we could crown as the overall winner.

So, what did we find?


1) Prices and product information are not always important, it’s all about the visuals.

Heatmap of the Aldi advert showing average eye gaze focusing mainly on the food visuals.

On both adverts, most participants were not only drawn to the food, but also to the price and product information due to prominence of the information (shown in the heat maps). However, participants retrospectively explained price and product information was not something they were interested in at this point, as all they were bothered about was how good or appealing the food looked.

Participants wanted to see appetising, colourful, well-cooked, and tasty looking food. Some people liked the variety of food in the Lidl advert, but from an informative point of view, found it difficult to understand which product they were promoting as multiple products were shown at once. On the other hand, participants really liked how the food was displayed one at a time on the Aldi advert, finding it easier to understand which food was on offer, along with the food being more appetising.

2) Keep it real and relatable.

Olympian, Jonathan Brownlee flipping burgers in the Aldi BBQ advert.

British Olympic athletes, Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, were featured in the Aldi advert as a celebrity endorsement, which participants had a mixed reaction to, preferring the more ‘realistic’ Lidl advertisement. They felt that using celebrities in this way was a ‘PR stunt’ and ‘unnatural’, which made it harder for them to relate to.

Participants much preferred the party scenes in the Lidl advert because they could imagine themselves in that situation. This was highly important for helping them get into the BBQ mood, therefore increasing the likelihood of them going out and purchasing products for that reason.

3) The pace, tempo and style of the advert must match the message and vibe you’re trying to convey.

Heat map of the Lidl advert, with eye gaze focused on faces in the party.

When it came to the advert our participants liked overall, the main consideration was how the advert made them feel. Although the Aldi advert did well to show off the food, participants thought the type of BBQ they were trying to replicate looked boring and failed to make them feel motivated to have a BBQ or buy their products. They liked the party style and relatability of the upbeat Lidl advert because they felt there was more energy from it, which was a lot more engaging.

Drum roll…Lidl was crowned the Budget Supermarket Summer BBQ Advert Winner!

Overall, because of the fun vibes, a wide variety of food shown, and relatability of the content – the Lidl advert came out on top as most engaging and preferred advert. However, it’s important to note that participants did say they preferred how Aldi showcased the food, which was also really important in encouraging them to buy products. But unfortunately, the rest of the Aldi advert fell flat. Which goes to show, that even though delicious-looking food is essential in a food advert, there are other things that contribute to making a food advert good.