An advert for discount retailer Aldi’s selection of alcoholic drinks has been banned by the regulator after one viewer complained that it might appeal to children, because it features a walking, talking carrot named Kevin.
The advert, which was aired over the Christmas period, starts with a shot of the scared-looking computer-animated root vegetable saying that he “sees dead parsnips” – a reference to a famous line in the 1999 horror film The Sixth Sense.
A voice-over rhyme then kicks in, ending with the line: "There were a few spirits that cold Christmas night. Award winning bottles for raising a toast and one frightened carrot had just seen a ghost”.
Kevin the Carrot is seen being frightened by another character, dressed up as a ghost. Images of various sprits are featured throughout the advert.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said that the ban had been prompted by one viewer challenging whether the ad might be irresponsible in that it was likely to appeal to viewers under the age of 18, which is the legal age for buying alcohol in the UK.
Aldi also sold the character as a soft toy, which was particularly popular with kids, during the festive period.
"We therefore considered that Kevin was likely to have strong appeal to audiences under the age of 18,” the ASA said. The regulator also said that the narration was similar to that of a nursery rhyme and that the ghost scene would likely be perceived as particularly humorous by children.
Aldi responded by stating that “whilst Kevin the Carrot was intended to be humorous, it was not designed to have specific appeal to under-18s”.
The supermarket chain also stressed that the advert was subject to broadcast restrictions so that it did not appear adjacent to any programmes aimed at under-18s.
Clearance agency Clearcast echoed Aldi’s response, saying that the ad was given the appropriate scheduling restriction for featuring alcohol.
“Clearcast considered that Kevin and the overall theme were all likely to have general appeal rather than appealing specifically to under-18s, and therefore considered that it was acceptable to feature the character in ads that featured alcohol,” the organisation said.
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