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ALDI goes bananas in latest Kevin the Carrot epic

November 2021

While John Lewis has long been the unofficial owner of the UK festive season, recent years has seen ALDI stake a compelling claim for the crown.

‘Kevin the Carrot’ has established himself as one of the most identifiable and lovable mascots in the entire advertising world — the unassuming hero behind ALDI’s highly successful Christmas platform since its genesis in 2016. To say the humble carrot has solidified himself as a celebrity of sorts wouldn’t be stretching the truth — his popularity reaching epic proportions in recent years with merchandise of the anthropomorphic vegetable selling out only hours after release. Even toy scalpers have started to wreak havoc on the ‘Kevin’ market!

While Kevin has always been the star of the show, his family of lovable (and loathed — looking at you, Russell Sprout) characters has expanded as the campaign has evolved. This was no different in 2021, with the latest chapter tackling a classic Charles Dickens-inspired tale as the spirit of 'Kevin the Carrot' helps newly introduced ‘Ebanana Scrooge’ overcome his Christmas misgivings.

Previous instalments of ‘Kevin the Carrot’ have set a high effectiveness benchmark, so would 2021 be able to reach these same lofty heights? We tested it using our three C’s framework to find out:

  • Captivate: Does it stand out and grab attention?
  • Connect: Does it instantly recall the brand?
  • Compel: Does it motivate behavioral change?

Captivate

The tale of a grouchy ‘Ebanana Scrooge’ and his journey to realizing the true virtues of Christmas elicited a wide range of intense emotions, with the story found enjoyable and involving. Treating each new Christmas release as an episodic installment is a highly effective mechanism for building excitement and anticipation.

While ‘Kevin the Carrot’ might not’ve been the same centerpiece in 2021 as prior years, his pulling-power hasn’t diminished in the slightest. The story which culminates in ‘Ebanana’ coming together with the carrot family and embracing the joys of Christmas evoked feelings of warmth, happiness, and amusement.

ALDI UK - Kevin the Carrot Christmas Ad Testing - Captivate

 

Connect

It’s safe to say that Kevin, and his supporting cast of vegetables, has well and truly bedded-in after 6 years — delivering an immediately identifiable property for ALDI. Though ALDI could’ve rested on its laurels and left Kevin to do all the heavy lifting (similarly to the 2020 spot), the narrative again featured the delicious spread of food (this time in the Dickensian era) — ensuring the ad not only delivered emotional warmth for the retailer, but also functional reasons for choosing it at Christmas.

ALDI UK - Kevin the Carrot Ad Testing - Connect

 

Compel

While sentimentality and togetherness have underpinned the communications approach of many brands this Christmas, ALDI stood out from the crowd yet again. This speaks volumes to the importance of fostering a tone and style which is unique to the brand — something ALDI has done successfully again this year, and something which has seen John Lewis establish itself as a force over the years (albeit losing some of its shine in 2021).

Christmas advertising, for the most part, seeks to generate an emotional response and build positive associations in order to influence behavior. ‘Ebanana Scrooge’ delivered in this respect, with warm and festive sentiment translating back onto ALDI. However, this year’s ad was supplemented with a message that people felt was particularly genuine and timely — the nod to ‘Marcus Radish-ford’s generous acts undoubtedly playing a part.

ALDI UK - Kevin the Carrot Christmas Ad Testing - Compel

 

What’s the learning for marketers?

There’s no denying it — ALDI’s 'Kevin the Carrot' is a Christmas cracker, a gift that keeps on giving, a festive star to guide all other advertisers. The campaign taps into many of the levers which we know drive commercial effectiveness, specifically:

  • Powerful storytelling featuring a central character. This helps create and sustain viewer attention, and cut-through the festive season’s ‘sea of sameness’.
  • Fresh consistency each year — while the structure of the narrative, characters, and theme remains similar from one Christmas to the next, the constantly evolving story, introduction of new antagonists, and cultural/topical references keeps viewers eagerly anticipating the latest instalment.
  • An incredibly recognizable asset in Kevin — he’s a testament to the importance of establishing ownable branding devices. Kevin also highlights how affinity toward characters and mascots compounds over time — not just triggering an instantaneous emotional response, but a more intense one with each campaign.
ALDI UK - Kevin the Carrot Ad Testing - Cubery Rating

Check out our full Christmas Ad Testing leaderboard. This is a self-funded case study using our Ad Testing solution.

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