‘Irresponsible’ Aldi Christmas ad broke alcohol rules

Discount supermarket chain Aldi found itself falling foul of the UK Advertising Standards Authority’s rules on alcohol last Christmas – after a complaint by one viewer.

Aired in the UK last year in the run up to Christmas, Aldi ran an advertising campaign featuring ‘Kevin the Carrot’ and chums, with each advert – 12 in all – running on the theme of various classic and well-known movies.

In one advert spoofing 1999 chiller ‘The Sixth Sense’, there is a continuous pun on ‘spirits’ in both the spectral and alcoholic meaning with a nervous Kevin eventually spooked by another character dressed up as a ghost.

Although apparently aired in accordance with the BCAP Code and therefore not during programmes aimed at under-18s, the advert prompted a lone inquiry from a member of the public asking whether the ad was “irresponsible” and might appeal to minors, leading to the ASA ruling that it did.

The ASA said the character of Kevin the Carrot was “childlike” and a soft toy produced as part of the campaign was “popular among under 18-year-olds, particularly young children.”

It continued: “We noted that choir music was played in the background while the voice-over told a short and simple narrative poem. Although the content of the dialogue and poem, which made use of a pun on ‘spirits’, was not typical content for children, we considered the tone was reminiscent of a children’s story, therefore it was likely to resonate with and strongly appeal to younger children.

“Furthermore, we considered the ending of the ad showing Kevin being frightened by another character dressed-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.”

It ruled that the advert must not appear again in its current form and future advertising featuring alcohol must not “appear likely” to appeal to minors.

Aldi commented that the advert’s content “appealed to adults rather than children” but that it would abide by the ruling.

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