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Bad Press: How The Net Got Scammed By (Yet Another) Marketing Scheme

In the world of marketing, you’re only as valuable as the number of people still talking about you. This is why Coca Cola, a company who you could only be unfamiliar with if you live in one of those tribes that hasn’t yet come into contact with outside society, spends billions (with a B) of dollars on advertising each year to remind you that Coke exists, that you should drink Coke, and that you should definitely drink Coke and not Pepsi. I recommend the caffeine free version of the standard Coke, it tastes less syrupy.

But if there’s anything that should calm your nerves in the era of mass data collection, it’s the knowledge that the bozos in marketing for the most part don’t have the faintest clue on what to do with that information. Case in point, Aldi supermarkets recently launched a marketing campaign that has been compared to that disastrous Bully Hunters program, the one that turned out to be a giant scam so Youtuber Casanova could get a free Vertagear chair to more comfortably shout homophobic slurs at tweens online.

The program is called Teatime Takedown and the concept should be familiar to those who watched the Bully Hunters con. Hand over your kid’s gamertag and Aldi will send an elite hit squad to kill your child. In the video game, that is. The whole idea is that it forces the kid to go downstairs and have dinner, presumably in silence as their parental figures sit at the dinner table browsing cooking recipes they’ll never make via Instagram on their phone while taking a few moments to complain about how playing video games rots your brain. It’s an actual program, allegedly. Sign up on the main Facebook page and Aldi will send a team of adults to fail at disciplining your child as much as you did.

To the layman, the marketing campaign may seem stupid since all it has done is generated a discussion about how the program is ridiculous, it won’t work, it relies on parents knowing their kid’s (1) gamertag and (2) what game they are playing at that moment, (3) that the game is joinable, (4) that the elite team can beat the kid, and (5) that beating him won’t simply change the situation to a family watching their dinner get cold while also listening to the muffled sound of a kid throwing a tantrum while probably throwing many, many vulgarities at the television upstairs. This followed by a lovely dinner with some kid fuming, slamming his utensils, and generally ruining everyone’s meal. And since you signed up for Aldi’s elite gamer service, we all know you’re not a competent enough parent to do anything about that either.

To the Aldi marketing team, however, this is more than just ginning up a bunch of comments about how their local Aldi is dirtier than a unkempt KMart and a poor man’s Trader Joe’s, and more about generating that free coverage. Because in the heads of incompetent marketing teams, attentive eyes means paying shoppers. In fact, the folks at Aldi did so much research that they can shoot your child dead over Xbox One, PS4, and Twitch. You just know some out of touch, 50+ year old executive threw Twitch on there. It’s a gaming platform, his granddaughter spends all day Ninja’ing the Fortnights on it or some rubbish.

As one commenter on Destructoid put it; if you want to troll your kids into not playing a game, you can always dab in front of the TV until they stop.

Normally I would fault the press for giving attention and free marketing but I’m going to hold off in this case since it’s clearly not going to go in Aldi’s favor. With virtually no positives coming from this campaign, the company has instead painted itself as hiring creepy adults to stalk children and likely be paid to be humiliated on Call of Duty by some nine year old who shoots them in the head and teabags their corpse. The concept is so incompetent that the only people outraged are streamers who are already paid to feign outrage and act like reactionary children. Ultimately, all Aldi did was shout “who farted” in a crowded elevator, bringing attention to the fact that they’ve clearly soiled themselves.

The announcement tweet has managed to amass 182 retweets and 572 likes in the course of three days, making the campaign about as viral as the Measles in a properly vaccinated society. Still, who knew that Aldi existed in the UK? You learn something new every day.

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