Aldi’s Golden Ticket: Kevin Back on Top this Christmas 


Kevin and the Christmas Factory


Five years of five-star Christmas ads – no other brand aside from Coke and their Trucks can claim that, and certainly no other brand has managed it with new creative every time. Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot is an advertising phenomenon. The public’s appetite for the character is clearly as strong as ever, with reports this week of queues outside Aldi stores for Kevin merchandise and stores having to limit how many toys customers can buy.

And of course he’s back on top of our Christmas ad rankings with his second maximum 5.9-Star score in a row. “Kevin and the Christmas Factory” not only lands an exceptional long-term Star Rating but also nets a truly massive Spike score (predicting short-term sales – those queues are no accident!) and an exceptional Brand Fluency percentage. Not bad for a character whose first ad, way back in 2016, only just scraped into 3-Star territory.

Kevin is once again King of Christmas. What’s his secret? If you’ve read the work of Orlando Wood, author of Lemon and Look Out, you’ll know some of the ways Kevin stays on top of the tree. The Kevin ads combine several of the elements we know to be particularly effective in advertising, and they use those elements exceptionally well.

Let’s have a look at some of them.

Living Characters: We pay more attention to the living than to products or objects, and the more vivid and expressive the better – which is one reason animated characters do so well in Christmas ads. Kevin has his family as a regular supporting cast but also gets a new set of characters to react to each year – in this case William Conker, owner of the Christmas Factory.

Cultural References: References to wider culture help give an ad context and earn right-brained attention. Kevin’s early outings were entertaining, but the ads really picked up in effectiveness terms when Aldi and agency McCann started basing them on classic stories – we’ve had A Christmas Carol, Home Alone, and now Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The creative team manage to tell the whole story of a children’s classic in 90 seconds, packing it with references and jokes guaranteed to grab audience attention.

Humour: One of the great things about Kevin ads is that they make people laugh. They’re a great mix of magic and mischief with a few naughty jokes to get people chuckling on social media after the ad airs. Ads work when they entertain for commercial gain, and only 15% of ads use humour as a method – no surprise those that do stand out.

Consistency: Finally, there’s the simple fact that audiences have come to anticipate each new Kevin ad and enjoy them even more because of that. Kevin is a classic Fluent Device – a recurring character who drives the story of each new ad – and we know Fluent Devices build effectiveness because they create consistency.

Christmas ads have always been more effective because they’re more emotional and entertaining than average commercials. But they tended not to show much consistency either year-on-year or with brands’ other campaigns. Kevin the Carrot has changed all that, and a fifth 5-Star year proves it once again. He really is Aldi’s golden ticket at Christmas.

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