Aldi brings back Kevin the Carrot as it looks to repeat last year’s Christmas ‘success’

Aldi says it is bringing back last year’s popular Kevin the Carrot character after the campaign helped the discounter grow sales by 15.1% and won “the hearts and minds” of consumers.

Aldi is bringing back Kevin the Carrot after last year’s Christmas campaign led to a 15.1% sales uplift and helped the discounter to attract one million new shoppers.

This year’s campaign sees Kevin on the hunt for love as he attempts to win the affection of female carrot Katie. The ad takes place on a train and features a murdered ginger bread man – closely linked to the ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ blockbuster film that premiered over the weekend.

The 60-second ad launches tonight (7 November) at 7.15pm on ITV1 during the ad break of Emmerdale. It will also run across cinema, press, social, door drop, in-store and digital. Aldi will look to run a sequence of shorter 20- and 30-second ads in the run-up to Christmas Day to keep consumers engaged with the brand and storyline.

As with last year, the British public will be able to buy a variety of Kevin and Katie the Carrot merchandise, including soft toys, reusable bags and books. Part of the profits will be donated to the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Capitalising on last year’s success

The discount retailer decided to bring back Kevin for a number of reasons. Besides its success in “capturing the hearts and minds” of consumers, the campaign also delivered its best Christmas on record. Sales grew 15.1% for December and attracted one million new customers to Aldi.

It also found that more British consumers were coming into its stores to do their entire Christmas shop – something it describes as “completely new for the brand”. Over the course of 2017, these new customers also delivered £1bn in extra sales.

Meanwhile, Millward Brown data showed that Aldi’s 2016 Christmas campaign outperformed competitors such as Lidl, Sainsbury’s and Tesco in terms of enjoyment, likelihood to buy and brand affinity.

We almost didn’t want to like it and repeat it. But as we developed this, it was just obvious that consumers wanted it. We said this should be ‘Empire Strikes Back’ from Star Wars and not ‘Grease Two’.

Adam Zavalis, Aldi

“We were growing signicantly faster than the big four, so we’re absolutely delighted with those results,” Adam Zavalis, marketing director at Aldi UK, said during a screening last night (6 November).

Speaking to Marketing Week, Zavalis said he hopes the fact the campaign carries on from last year’s creative will set the brand apart from the other grocers.

“There’s a natural tendency among grocers and advertisers just to move on. Whereas sometimes you should look at whether you’ve got something, and if there’s an opportunity to [carry it on]? For us, we’re very much in that place,” he said.

“We almost didn’t want to like it and repeat it. But as we developed this, it was just obvious that consumers wanted it. We said this should be Empire Strikes Back from Star Wars and not Grease Two – so hopefully we’ve got that.”

Prioritising escapism

Aldi Christmas

Zavalis said the campaign’s results had led to “a bit of a headache” and “a John Lewis problem”, as it felt pressured to repeat its Christmas success and outperform itself.

After comparing emotional and rational campaigns, consumers told Aldi that Christmas is “all about escapism” – which is something the retailer is particularly eager to capitalise on amid growing economic uncertainty.

“This year, with everything that’s gone on and inflation and interest rates going up – it’s going to be tougher but people still want that sense of escape and a dream-like Christmas campaign,” he concluded.

“Consumers can shop with us, still have the Christmas that they’re hoping for but not break the bank. So customers are more cognisant of that this year with the economy. But hopefully therefore our message will resonate.”