Ad Of The Week
Ebanana Goode! Kevin Does It Again
Move over Kevin, there’s a new food in town. This year’s Aldi ad introduced viewers to the Christmas-hating Ebanana Scrooge – a fruit that’s been set on a curmudgeonly path after being rejected by Santa. Fortunately, Kevin The Carrot – or his spirit, at least – is on hand to show Scrooge the error of his ways.
Kevin The Carrot is a Christmas fixture for Aldi (and agency McCann) – it’s hard to believe he’s only been around since 2016. Last year’s dramatic Christmas journey became the most loved Kevin ad yet – for the first time, the ad hit 5-Stars on System1’s Test Your Ad platform, and ended up topping our Christmas rankings.
And now they’ve done it again. “A Christmas Carrot” is the first UK ad to hit 5-Stars this year. Even more impressively, Aldi are the first brand ever to hit 5-Stars two years in a row with different ads. 5-Star Christmas successes are rare. Following them up is unique.
Let’s look at the ad to see how Aldi did it.
It’s a sign of Aldi’s confidence in their star that this year they could give him more of a background role. For the first time, this isn’t Kevin’s story, it’s all about Ebanana. But the style is the same – a charming and ever so slightly knowing Christmas fable with a friendly voiceover, several gloriously groansome puns, and plenty of shots of tasty Christmas food.
Making a Kevin The Carrot ad without so much Kevin in it is a risk, but also a smart move for the future of the campaign. It moves the emphasis away from the lead character and onto the style, look and feel of the ad. “A Christmas Carrot” feels like a Kevin ad well before Kevin himself shows up. This shift in emphasis gives Aldi a lot more freedom to play with classic Christmas stories and icons – like they do here.
It’s also worth saying that creating a signature style of Christmas ad is exactly what John Lewis did back in the early 10s. Every John Lewis ad was different, but they all felt like a John Lewis ad. That’s the freedom Aldi have given themselves too – as long as people keep enjoying the work, of course.
And fortunately they really do. Not only have Aldi done the Christmas double with a second 5-Star score in a year, their short-term Spike score is also among the year’s best. The story landed perfectly, with peak happiness reached as Ebanana reveals his Christmas pudding. And in our testing there was plenty of evidence that even if Kevin wasn’t the lead character this year, his presence is still what elevates the ad. 64% of viewers said they recognised a familiar character, brand recognition got a boost every time he appeared, and “Kevin The Carrot” was the second biggest association with the ad (behind, of course, “Christmas”).
As we’ve said in the past, Aldi’s Christmas success is testament to the power of Fluent Devices – recurring brand characters and scenarios – to create positive emotion and strong brand assets.
This doesn’t always work right away – Aldi and McCann have built Kevin up year on year, and his first three outings all got a solid but not spectacular 3-Star score. It was only once the character had bedded in with the public that he became the reliable Christmas blockbuster he is today.
Kevin and Aldi are number 1 in our Christmas rankings for now – there’s a few more big names to come, so we’ll see if they can stay the course. What’s interesting though is how more brands are realising the power of consistent campaigns and Fluent Devices at Christmas time.