UPDATE (March 26th 2019): Aldi has pulled the plug on its Teatime Takedown campaign following backlash from the esports community.
It has also been issuing vouchers to some members of the community as a way of apology, as confirmed by this email shared by Esports Insider editor Ollie Ring:
We did it, Twitter.
It seems Aldi listened to the feedback so good on them. Must have been a mightily expensive campaign! pic.twitter.com/sPUzLqTPZ0
— Ollie Ring (@olliering) March 26, 2019
The community reacted negatively to the initial campaign announcement (see below), and one UK org - Barrage Esports - even planned to help kids fight back against Aldi's campaign.
Original article (published March 13th 2019):
Supermarket chain Aldi has come under fire for a poorly thought-out marketing campaign that aims to stop kids playing games so they're downstairs in time for dinner.
The advertising campaign has provoked anger amongst the esports community, who have accused the supermarket chain of being out of touch.
The Teatime Takedown stunt invites parents to call upon a squad of professional gamers to "take down" their kids in online games - with the aim of getting youngster at the table in time for dinner.
Parents are invited to input their kids' gamer tags so an "elite squad of professional gamers can take them down in time for tea".
Aldi said: "Parents! Tired of your kids missing dinnertime because of computer games? Then call upon the services of an elite squad of professional gamers who will join their game online and take them down. Now they'll have no excuse not to be at the table when dinner's ready."
But the campaign has not done down well in the gaming community.
Supermarket Aldi giving Bully Hunters a run for the worst gaming/esports marketing campaign of all time pic.twitter.com/dQAHaKJbAk
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) March 13, 2019
Hi Anders, I heard your kids are playing games for too long. But not to worry Aldi are here to bully and grief them until they rage quit. #TearsandTeatime
— Vexed Mark 🐝 (@MarkAnthonyDigi) March 13, 2019
Thats a yikes from me. https://t.co/N1Hxlp6Sbs
— Redeye (@PaulChaloner) March 13, 2019
"Is your kid's rugby practice getting in the way of your weekends? We'll send in the Samoan International side to crush them so badly they'll abandon their hobby for good"
Why is gaming the villain, this could be any hobby on the planet?
— Tom (@Codexcaster) March 13, 2019
Aldi Teatime Takedown is the worst thought out marketing campaign related to gaming that I have come across. Clearly created by someone who hasn't played a video game and thus doesn't realise it's usually impossible to do what the campaign says it will https://t.co/2W2pxlHn1m
— Luke Cotton (@LukeCotton) March 13, 2019
"9. By providing the Target Details you accept and agree that eSports will contact the Target directly to facilitate the takedown. If and when a takedown occurs eSports will contact the Target again to inform them of the Teatime Takedown event"
u wot m8 pic.twitter.com/QYALYf7St3
— Ollie Ring (@olliering) March 13, 2019
Sujoy Roy, who was the UK's first professional gamer and is now director of esports at Luckbox, said: "It's a clever idea but a little misguided and shows Aldi as being a bit out of touch.
"Parents should be encouraged to take an active interest in their kids' online activity, not force them to quit gaming in a rage because they are losing. Mums and dads should be the ones playing with and against their kids, not a some unknown 'elite gamers'.
"There's a lot of concern about gaming online, some of it justified, but most of it is scaremongering. Gaming online can be a highly social and help develop real-life skills and this is the kind of thing parents should be encouraging and celebrating."