Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot returns for Christmas sequel: ‘This is Empire Strikes Back, not Grease 2’

Aldi has resurrected its 2016 Christmas campaign character, this time putting a movie-themed spin on Kevin the Carrot’s festive endeavours. The brand’s marketing director hopes the risk of repeating the creative will pay off and bring it the same blockbuster success as the original.

Created by McCann UK, this year’s campaign picks up from where Kevin the Carrot was left in 2016 (as the nose of a snowman).

Dislodged by the rumblings of a train, Kevin jumps aboard and finds himself at a dining table where he spots his love interest, Katie the Carrot. His quest to reach her – narrated by the equally familiar voice of Jim Broadbent – sees him dodge a dead gingerbread man and flying peas before the two are united.

Adam Zavalis, marketing director at Aldi UK, said: “[After the 2016 campaign] we’d given ourselves a John Lewis problem – how do we repeat that success?”

The original Kevin the Carrott delivered the discount retailer’s best Christmas performance – leading to a million extra customers plus £1bn in extra sales – while measurement firm Millward Brown found it surpassed Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Lidl on metrics such as ‘likelihood to buy’.

“We started [planning for 2017] thinking we would move on but it was overwhelming demand for it come back,” Zavalis continued.

“There’s a natural tendency [from marketers] to move on. We almost didn’t want to like it. It needed to be the right sequel; we [told McCann] it should be Empire Strikes Back, not Grease 2.”

The advert and the supporting spots, including 14 product oriented sub-campaigns running as 20 and 30 second TV spots, have all been peppered with references to famous films. In the main execution, for example, there’s a nod to Die Hard, Titanic and Murder on the Orient Express which launched in cinemas this week.

“That it was set on a train was very much a coincidence but then the opportunity presented itself to build on Murder on the Orient Express in a fun way,” said Zavalis.

The campaign will run in theatres to coincide with the cinematic release of the film as well as on TV, digital, social, outdoor, press, radio, and in-store. In addition, playing on the romantic theme of the campaign, a profile has also been created for Kevin on dating app Happn where users can talk to him on the chat function.

Overall, the marketing investment is on a par with last year, although Zavalis said that last year’s campaign highlighted that media consumption has pivoted towards social, and that his team has now adjusted budgets accordingly.

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