Aldi's Kevin The Carrot Rapped Over 'Christmas Spirits' Commercial

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Aldi's Kevin The Carrot Rapped Over 'Christmas Spirits' Commercial

Discounter Aldi has been criticised for a Christmas TV commercial that it aired in the UK, featuring a cartoon carrot alongside promotional alcohol deals.

The commercial, featuring Kevin the Carrot, Aldi's Christmas mascot, featured a voice-over stating, “Kevin was feeling a little bit tense. He thought there were spirits. He had a sixth sense. As it turned out, his instincts were right. There were a few spirits that cold Christmas night."

The advert interspersed images of the computer-generated carrot and bottles of alcohol, including gin, vodka and scotch.

A complainant to the UK's Advertising Standards Authority suggested that the advert was 'irresponsible because it was likely to have strong appeal to people under 18 years of age' – a complaint that the authority upheld.

Aldi's Response

In its response to the authority, Aldi Stores Ltd said that while the character of Kevin the Carrot was 'intended to be humorous, it was not designed to have specific appeal to under-18s'.


The discounter added that 'much of the humour in the situations in which Kevin had been placed since his first appearance in 2016 was of a nature that would be more appealing to adults than to children. Furthermore, the target audience for [the] Christmas campaign were adults.'

It also noted that the advert was scheduled in accordance with the BCAP Code and, therefore, was not aired adjacent to programmes likely to appeal to under-18s.

Elsewhere, Clearcast, an ad-clearance service for agencies and advertisers, considered that 'Kevin and the overall theme were all likely to have general appeal, rather than appealing specifically to under-18s, and therefore considered that it was acceptable to feature the character in ads that featured alcohol'.

An Aldi spokesperson told ESM, “We believe the content of this specific advert appealed to adults, rather than children. The advert was also subject to broadcast restrictions so that it did not appear adjacent to any programmes aimed at under-18s. Nevertheless, we will abide by the Advertising Standards Agency’s ruling on this matter.”


Aldi also noted that the advert in question was one of a 12-part campaign. The Advertising Standards Authority's ruling only applies to this one advert, not the campaign as a whole.

Complaint Upheld

Upholding the complaint, the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that the 'ad must not appear again in its current form'. It also notified Aldi that 'future ads for alcohol must not be likely to appeal strongly to people under 18 years of age'.

While it accepted that the scheduling of the advert means that it was unlikely to be viewed by children, the authority ruled that 'Kevin the Carrot appeared to be childlike and had a high-pitched voice, similar to that of a young child. Furthermore, we understood Kevin was sold as a soft toy during the Christmas period and was popular amongst under 18-year-olds, particularly young children. We therefore considered that Kevin was likely to have strong appeal to audiences under the age of 18.'

In addition, the Advertising Standards Authority said that the content of the dialogue was 'reminiscent of a children’s story. Therefore, it was likely to resonate with, and strongly appeal to, younger children.'


The advert's conclusion, in which another character dresses up as a ghost, 'would be particularly funny for younger children and, consequently, contributed to the overall effect of the ad having strong appeal to under-18s.'

© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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