Aldi has been crowned 2021’s most effective Christmas ad by UK consumers. The TV campaign featured England striker Marcus Rashford alongside Kevin the Carrot in a new take on Dickens’ (in this case, “Chickens”) ‘A Christmas Carol’.
Kevin the Carrot has featured in six of Aldi’s Christmas ads to date, with 2020’s ad campaign quickly racking up over 7 million Youtube views. The success has continued this year, with viewers stating that the ad stood out as more ‘distinctive’ and ‘enjoyable’ than competing festive campaigns.
Sean McGinty, marketing director at Aldi UK said: “It wouldn’t be the festive season without Kevin the Carrot on our TV screens, and we’re thrilled to be bringing him back for the sixth year for his many fans, in what we think is his best Yuletide performance yet.” (Ad News)
Coca-Cola followed closely behind and ranked the second best of 24 ads compared by Kantar, followed by Lidl’s and Marks & Spencer’s.
Christmas ads provide an opportunity for powerful storytelling and they tend to trigger more of emotional response than a ‘normal’ ad.
Kantar’s research reveals that 46% of respondents in the UK say they love Christmas TV ads, and 43% wish ads were as good for the rest of the year as they are around Christmas. A combination of surprises, sadness and joy can take viewers on an emotional yet ‘feel-good’ journey in just a few minutes.
Some research suggests that brands telling “emotionally powerful stories” have a better chance of being noticed. The continued success of John Lewis’s Christmas advertising in previous years has demonstrated the effectiveness of an emotionally-charged Christmas ad – but it seems that Aldi have stolen the limelight this year.
A Christmas Carrot is one of many ads tapping into themes around kindness and joy as a way to earn attention. It is however, worth considering whether this is just a short-term Christmas hit or could actually drive long-term brand recognition.
A closer look at Aldi’s performance…
When analysing the success of this year’s festive ads, Kantar considered how well they hold attention, motivate short-term purchases and contribute to longer-term brand success.
Results were based on a survey of 3,600 UK consumers, also using facial coding to gauge real-time emotional response to each ad. Aldi’s ad was deemed this year’s most effective in multiple areas.
Aldi – A Christmas Carrot
#1 in the categories:
- Most Festive
- Most Enjoyable
- Most Distinctive
Coca-Cola – Holidays are coming
#1 in the category:
- Strongest Branding
Whilst Aldi didn’t overtake Coca-Cola for branding (likely down to the iconic Coca-Cola truck making an appearance), it has come out on top for most festive, enjoyable and distinctive.
Martech Series also found that Aldi was amongst the highest performing of this years ads, scoring above-average in three key areas:
- Brand consideration: 7.5 (significantly above a UK norm of 6.5)
- Overall appeal/likeability: 7.8 (significantly above a UK norm of 6.2)
- Brand linkage: 8.0 (significantly above a UK norm of 7.2)
So, what has Aldi done right?
Aldi’s success comes hand-in-hand with their emotive yet fun take on a traditional tale. Aldi’s Dickensian Christmas story feels familiar but also brand new – resonating with viewers and tapping into the zeitgeist. Adapting a well-known Christmas story and ending with a simple yet strong message creates an ‘easy watch’.
The ad closes with the words: “The moral of the story? The answer you’ll find … for you to be happy, you need to be kind.”
Whilst delivering a narrative around kindness and social impact, Aldi still stayed true to its “disrupter” brand reputation, with the featured arrest of Cuthbert the Caterpillar Cake.
Aldi is known for ‘fighting back’ with humour since its #freecuthbert social media campaign back in April – and has leveraged the Christmas season to deliver a powerful message whilst being authentic to the brand.
It seems humour is the winning ingredient for Aldi.
Aldi has also teamed up with Marcus Rashford (in this case, Radishford) pledging to donate 1.8 million meals to families across the UK over the Christmas period.
Christmas come early
By mid-November, we’d already seen a flurry of Christmas ads on TV, including major brands like Boots, Aldi, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer. Potentially in a bid to beat the competition, some brands launched their ad as early as the beginning of November. Aldi launched a teaser ad on the 6th November and revealed the full ad shortly after on the 11th.
Britons most likely to say Christmas advertising should start “from the beginning of December”
Just over half of Britons (52%) deem it acceptable to air Christmas ads in November, 19% of respondents would prefer if they began in late November or mid-November, whilst 14% deemed it acceptable to broadcast the ads at the start of the month.
Advertisers weren’t just starting early this year – but also doing more to stand out. Some major advertisers like Marks & Spencer, Boots and Centrepoint have been experimenting with the benefits of QR codes in their TV ads.
“Whereas having another screen to look at could be seen as a distraction from the advertising, what we actually see is the second screen keeps them in their seat…and makes them more likely to stay in the room and watch the adverts. So, if the advert is attention grabbing enough, causing people to look up, there’s a good chance they’ll be able to snap the QR code…and avoid the dreaded ‘google tax.’”