Guinness officially done with the colour black?

Disclaimer- I’m neither a Rugby nor Guinness fan but I recently feel like Guinness have been taking a slightly different but great approach to some of their campaigns during Rugby tournaments.

Unlike me, you may have watched Ireland disappointing exit from the semi-final of the Rugby World Cup in October, but did you see this tweet from one of team’s main sponsors?

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Guinness Ireland took to twitter urging fans to have a pint of Carlsberg if they are looking to drown their sorrows after Ireland’s 46-14 loss against the New Zealand ‘All blacks’.  It could be just me, but it does seem odd a brand urging their online audience to drink another beverage let alone a rival beer, however this isn’t the first time this year Guinness have suggested consumers not to drink a pint of the black stuff.

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In 2019, Guinness took over as the main sponsor for the Six Nations and in the lead up, they launched their “new product” Guinness Clear.

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Initially I actually thought it was a new alcoholic drink because of all the TV advertising, the social media campaign and the media attention, but turns out its just water.

The reasoning behind ‘Guinness Clear’ was part of the brands responsible drinking campaign to encourage moderation to all the fans watching the rugby. They took into consideration that some people don’t feel comfortable ordering water in a pub, so now they don’t have too! Guinness ‘re-branded’ water so fans could stick to their favourite brand of refreshment while also being drink aware. Guinness Clear had a large presence at the Six Nations and continues to have a presence throughout rugby stadiums with branded water fonts and sampling teams. On this occasion, Guinness successfully used their Six Nations platform to raise awareness and encourage this audience to be drink aware but what reasoning could Guinness have to want their consumers to drink Carlsberg?

Guinness Ireland has been one of IRFU’s main sponsors for years, as well as being brewed in Ireland it only seems right they show their support and respect for the local team and this is how they did it, they told their social media audience not to drink a pint of the black stuff because of the associated colour with the winning New Zealand team.

Why Carlsberg?

It would make more sense if Guinness had of suggested having a pint of Hop House 13 as they brew this lager, but they considered the colours of the branding of these beers in support for the Irish team. Guinness is known for its black consistently with its white head, the same colours as the New Zealand ‘All Blacks’ kit, while Carlsberg is known for its green and white branding, same as the Ireland kit. Hop house however is red, white and black, so it wouldn’t make as much sense.
As well as taking into consideration the colours ,Guinness strategically picked Carlsberg. Carlsberg is brewed and marketed under license by the same company that own Guinness, Diageo.

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Fans were quick to praise Guinness for their response to the loss. The tweet seen 5,536 retweets and 20,160 likes on twitter and on Instagram it has received 16,211 likes, a 493% increase in likes from their previous post. As well as creating talk on social media, this stunt also created a lot of positivity for the brand as well as the Irish Rugby team.

So how can Guinness afford to be so risky with their campaigns?

Guinness has been around since 1759 and over the years they have created a well-established brand. Their popularity has given them opportunities to get creative with their campaigns and continue to be one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the world.

Jenna Sloan is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. You can find her on – Twitter: @jennaaaaa_ and LinkedIn: Jenna Sloan 

Why I chose to study Part-Time

When I decided to leave my degree after my first year at University in Liverpool due to student finance problems in 2015, I felt completely lost and undecided on what to do next. The only thing I was sure of was that I needed to move home. At the age of 22, the majority of my friends had either finished their degrees, still completing their degrees or in full-time work since our school days, which made me feel even more behind.

I still find it surreal that young people at the age of 16 are asked to choose a career they want to do for the rest of their lives. I am 26 years old now and if I am completely honest, I am still not completely sure. At 21, after much consideration, I felt I had to complete a degree to achieve successful career prospects. However, I was never the academic type, I was a more practical learner. For example, if I was shown how to do something, I would pick it up much faster and a downfall throughout most of my school life, if I wasn’t passionate about something, I would lose all interest. Therefore, I knew whatever option I chose to study I knew my degree had to be something I was particularly interested in or even good at.

After my time studying in Liverpool, I realised my skills lied in the promotion and the marketing aspects of many of my module tasks. It was then when I got back home I decided to look into courses around, PR and marketing at Universities in Belfast. I looked into Ulster University’s website and seen the course Communication Management and Public Relations. I decided to apply and go to their open day at The MAC theatre in Belfast and it was there I got to speak to the Course Director, Kerry-Ann. I emphasised my interests and that I wanted a course that would be flexible around my part-time job, that was when Kerry-Ann suggested part-time studying.

My perception of part-time was night classes, where the majority of the people would be older than me and I wouldn’t exactly get the university experience. However, Kerry-Ann reassured me that I would be in classes with the full-time students during the day, although it would be up to me what modules I decided to do and how long It would take me to complete my degree. Although for me there were still both pros and cons, one con in particular. A placement year wasn’t included in a part-time degree, for reasons I didn’t understand. A placement year was something I was always interested in as many friends of mine had the opportunity of a placement year and always mentioned that it was some of the best years of their lives, whether they stayed at home or moved abroad. However, the idea of part-time still sparked my interest and I decided to look into it further.

After some research, I was shocked to find out so much about part-time studying and confused as to why I had not looked into it before. What I found was as a part-time student you can be eligible for a means-tested fee grant and also a course grant. I also found out to study part-time was much more cost-effective and realised you can save a lot of money in comparison to full-time. Therefore, if you decide you want to complete your part-time degree in within 5 years, that is just one more year than a full-time degree with a placement year. The part-time total fee can be paid either in an up-front payment which means if you pay the full cost of your annual fees at enrolment you can receive a 5% discount. Or you can opt for a flexible payment, to help spread the cost of your studies, this means tuition fees can be paid back in monthly instalments if you wish.

Fast forward nearly 4 years, it is November and this semester I have started my final year modules that will cover the rest of this year and next. This will be a total time of 5 years spent at University when I finally graduate.

Looking back since I started my university journey part-time, it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Throughout my time studying I have been able to balance my degree around my home life, social life and best of all my work experience. Throughout the past few years, I have been lucky enough to secure part-time paid work experience in marketing and Public Relation agencies. Therefore, when I complete my studies in 2021 I will have a degree behind me as well has over 2+ years’ experience in Marketing and Public Relations, which I know a lot of employers look for. Not bad for an extra year of university, and fewer student fees at the end, I must say.

 

Kirby Axon is a part-time final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at – Instagram: Kirby-Axon and LinkedIn: kirbyaxon

BREAKING NEWS: Instagram Likes MIA

It’s probably hard for most of us to imagine a world where Likes don’t matter. I remember when I was 14 and a selfie I got before Clubland got 24 likes on Facebook. I’ve never felt as famous. But finally, finally, someone has caught themselves on and realised the damage social media pressure is doing to us. Instagram. Is. Getting. Rid. Of. Likes. Supposedly.

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The new feature has been in the works for a few months now, being tested on small groups of users since July in over 7 countries including Canada, Australia and Japan. It’s just about to be trailed in US, meaning it most likely will be active worldwide in the pretty near future. And it’s giving Instagram users a lot of mix feelings.

So what will the change mean? Rather than seeing the number of people who Likes a post, Instagram will show “Liked by [who you fancy If you’re lucky] and others“. Meaning your followers will never know the number of Likes your post got. I mean they technically could count all the users, but who’s really gonna be so bothered to do that? I hope no one. Please spend your time on something more beneficial. If you want too you can see the number of Likes your post got if you click onto it, but only if you chose to do so. It’s easy to avoid the number if you want too. Good bye Instagram Anxiety.

Why are Instagram doing this? Isn’t liking pictures the whole point?

Basically Instagram wants to become the safest place on the internet, with the happiest users. It’s no shock that Instagram has been heavily criticised about its effect on mental health, especially to Generation Z. A 2017 survey carried out by The Royal Society for Public Health & Young Health Movement proved Instagram to be the most likely platform to have a negative effect on young people’s health and well-being. So, when announcing the change Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said,

“the idea is to de-pressurise Instagram and make it a space that’s more focused on connections, conversations and community, especially for young people.”

He wants the app to be a fun place for people to share and connect, not a place where you value your worth over a number.

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So, on a personal level, what do I think of this? I think it’s great and something that should have been done long ago. My personal attitude towards Instagram has changed a lot over the past few years. I’ve grown up (believe it or not) and I do not value my worth through who Likes my Instagram. I post what I want, when I want, as much as I want. Yet, when I was 16, a lot less confident and a lot more vulnerable, my attitude was completely different. A night out was a waste if I didn’t get a photo for the gram, and even If I did get a photo, was it really Insta worthy? Would it get good Likes? What if no one Likes it? What if it gets less Likes that my last photo? How come she got loads of Likes and I didn’t? I’d turn off my Instagram notifications after I uploaded so I’d never know if my post was getting Likes or not. And the most ridiculous of all, but I know you all did it too, I would have waited until “prime time” to post to make sure I’d get the best chance of Likes. Why was there RULES for posting a photograph on Instagram.

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So many unnecessary worries for a young teenage girl, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who felt that, wouldn’t we be lucky if that was all we had to worry about nowadays. So yeah, the removal of the Likes feature will be a definite step in the right direction, but it’s only the first step in making the platform a safe and happy place for users. Have Instagram forgot about the comments? If Instagram are really looking out for the safety and happiness of their users, this is the real danger. Even Cardi B and Kim Kardashian have called Instagram out on this saying much more needs to be done to protect its users, starting with the removal of the comment feature.

All this aside, we must think of the people who aren’t using Instagram for personal use. Canadian Influencer Kate Weiland is not one bit pleased about the new change as Likes are what tells her what her audience enjoy, and what they want to see from her. She looks at Likes as though it’s the audience clapping at the end of a performance. Without Likes, it’ll be an awkward silence.

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Influencers, artists and celebrities relay a lot on their Instagram performance for income. Influencers are freaking out about how the change will impact their income, if not their entire career. Thinking if brands can’t see the number of likes their racking up for a sponsored post, how will they know the impact they have on consumer behaviour? How will they impress brands and make them want to approach them for sponsorship? But brands have spoken out about the issue and have explained how to them, likes are only “surface” level and what they care most about is other metrics such as engagement, URL clickthroughs, swipe ups and all that influencery stuff, which is a lot more important than a Like on a photo that most people probably forget about after they scroll past it, or Like on reflex without even realising it.

The change will mean people will be more experimental with their content, something I’d love to see. Influencers and celebrities will engage more with their followers about real stuff,  not what they think will get the most likes. And us nobodies, we’ll post what we want to, without thinking what our followers will think of it. I give Instagram a round of applause for the first step in taking away with social media pressures we all face today.

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Catherine Maguire is a Final Year year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Instagram: catherinelauram and LinkedIn: Catherine Maguire

Does Christmas Start too Early?

Does Christmas start too early?

 

We have this rule in my house, “Until we see the Coca-Cola advert or the Guinness one, then it is not Christmas!”. This has always been the way in my house; we never put our decorations up until the first week of December and don’t tend to get into the “Christmas spirit” until that time of the year. Every family has their own time for putting up their decorations or starting to watch Christmas movies or even talking about Christmas in general. Some families start on the 1st of November and some families don’t put their decorations up until the 20th of December; it simply depends on how you feel about Christmas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although each family has their own time to start the festive period, organisations have their own ideas also. Many companies start to present their instore decorations on the 1st of November, start displaying Christmas decorations even before Halloween and offer Christmas packages for gifts etc. around the same time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas is a big time of year for every organisation there is, and it is also their busiest. They tend to promote Christmas as soon as they can but doe that really help with sales. Some people like to start their Christmas shopping early just to have it done to allow them to enjoy themselves over the Christmas period; where as others tend to wait until December as shopping for presents is part of the Christmas season. Over the past few years. organisations have tended to chance and put out their Christmas offers extra earlier and earlier. Does this have an impact on their sales or does this simply irritate the public because of how early they start the festive season? There’s a possibility it’s both.

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People may feel pressured into quickly picking up bargains and sales to help with their Christmas shopping which then helps the organisations sales incline. On the other hand, people wish to enjoy Christmas, they don’t want to be sick of it halfway through December. Families, including my own, start Christmas on December first. This is when we watch our Christmas movies, listen to music and want to start our Christmas shopping. Christmas is more than shopping and presents for most families; its about the time we spend with family and friends. It’s a time to celebrate and enjoy time together. The main thing for most families is the magic of Christmas because of young children still believing in Santa Claus. Organisations play on this using the most impactful Christmas advertisements. For example, Coca-Cola have used to same Christmas advert of the lorry driving through towns as people of all ages stand out to see it for over 10 years which shows how much of an impact it has had on the public. Choosing the right time to share any media content and what you will choose is very important for a company. This year alone we have already seen how Iceland have chosen to use the new Frozen movie. This is a very smart decision for this company as it will become noticed by children very quickly which will result in them trying to get the attention of their parents to also watch the advertisement in turn allowing them to look at not just the fact of Frozen but of what the company have to offer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas is not all about the gifts and the money you spend; Christmas is more about the time you spend with the ones you love around you. Many people care more abut what they are giving and receiving from others, rather than how much time they get to spend with family and friends. It is the time of year that brings everyone closer together and allows people who don’t normally spend time with family or friends to do so. Organisations have the opposite view on this and constantly promote their products as early as they can for the cash flow, which is their main object but could possibly create more family and festive centred advertisements rather than simply targeting popular characters or movies etc. to attract peoples attention. Everyone has their own idea of Christmas, but does it really have to start as early as before Halloween and not have the festive aspect included?

 

 Hollie Walls is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/hollie-walls-565716198/ and Instagram – @holliewallss

Colour coded baskets – Win Win for Sephora?

Have you ever walked into a store and immediately been bombarded by staff asking if they can help you? Without name dropping, a few certainly come to mind.

Research conducted by DisplayMode, a leading point-of-sale company, shows that 89% of shoppers are put off or bothered by in-store sales assistants.

Personally I despise nothing more than entering a store and being pounced on by employees within the first 3 seconds of being there. If anything, it makes me want to leave the store without purchasing anything.

While I understand that most staff across various stores are under pressure by management to assist customers, management don’t seem to understand how off-putting this can be from a customer perspective.

Sephora, seeing the issue, have upped their customer experience game and received widespread praise for their new colour coded basket system which is being trialled in certain European stores. Customers who wish to be assisted with their purchases can take a red basket, informing staff that they are open to help,  while customers who wish to be left alone can take a black basket, notifying staff that they would not like any assistance.

Twitter user Cami Williams (@cwillycs) photographed the display of baskets in a European Sephora store and tweeted, “There is a fellow introvert on the Sephora customer experience team who deserves A RAISE RIGHT NOW”.

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The tweet went viral with over 240,000 likes and 58,000 retweets. Other Twitter users commended Sephora for their forward thinking and even tagged a few prominent rival stores suggesting that they should implement this idea as they no longer visit their stores due to their “over-attentive” sales assistants.

However, other Twitter users were quick to point out that the colour coded basket strategy has already been adopted by Innisfree. The Korean skincare brand successfully rolled out the baskets in 2016 across some of its stores.

As a part-time customer assistant myself, it is painfully obvious when a customer is bothered by being approached by staff. So why continue to do it? Why not let the customer decide what sort of interaction they would like to have instore and therefore have a better experience? An enjoyable experience will result in the customer continuing to shop in a particular store, being hounded by staff will drive customers to other stores.

Upon first seeing Cami Williams’ tweet, I thought that the colour coded baskets were a genuinely customer focused strategy.

It wasn’t until I read a comment on the thread that I started to think more about how the colour coded baskets may benefit Sephora as well as their customers…

“And from a marketing standpoint, this puts a basket in the hands of people who may have only planned to window shop. A win for the customer and the store.”

Another Twitter user agreed, stating that the basket ‘changes the narrative from “no thanks, I’m just looking” to “I’m shopping on my own”’.

So, was Sephora really thinking about solo shoppers and introverts by introducing their colour coded baskets? Or was it a marketing plan to get someone who only popped in for one item to grab a basket, encouraging them to make more purchases? I know that if it was me, I would grab the black basket so as not to be interrupted by staff and end up unintentionally filling the basket with products that I had no want or need for when going to the store in the first place.

Either way, given the reaction to the baskets on Twitter, no matter what Sephora’s intentions may have been, someone is getting a raise…

 

Chantelle McKeever is a Final Year Bsc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Twitter- @ChantelleMcKee5

The Digital Election

In the 2008 Presidential Election, we witnessed relatively unknown candidate Barack Obama become front and center of the race. Through an engaging social media campaign and a well oiled public relations team Obama would go on to become the 49th President. Fast forward to 2016 and Donald Trump has become the first “twitter – based” presidency. Trumps use of Twitter has become a significant breakthrough for social media in politics. It allowed Trump to utilise and connect personally with his supporters, slam his opponents and outline his policies all in the one space. Jump to 2017, Corbyn’s unexpected rise in popularity in the UK General Election seemed to be because of a surge in Labour’s youth vote which has been attributed to their social media strategies. Two years later, we are in what could be the most important General Election the United Kingdom has seen and it’s already begun to be dominated by social media.

Below, I have listed some ways in which political parties and their leaders have started to use social media to advance their campaigns.

BLURRING THE TRUTH

We are all very aware of the impact ‘fake news’ can have on elections, no thanks to Donald Trump. However, a more sophisticated form has now emerged where videos of interviews have been edited to make those in question appear in a negative light. The first week of campaigning has been dominated by the Conservative party posting a video of a “Good Morning Britain” Interview with Labour party member Keir Starmer. In the video tweeted on the Conservative parties account, it appears to show the Labour member unable to answer a question on their parties policy towards Brexit. Although when played alongside the full interview, it shows the video has clearly been edited, as Starmer answered the question immediately.

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This clip tweeted by the Conservative party became one of the most watched videos by a political party or party leader since the vote to hold a general election. Despite the high number of viewers, it’s hard to gauge whether or not these viewers approved or disapproved of the tweet. For those who look into it, it can easily sway public opinion against the Conservatives or vice versa. The public may only look at the original tweet and may believe Labour’s members still don’t know their stance on Brexit.

THE TWITTER SCREENSHOT STRATEGY

If you have the usual social media sites, you will definitely have noticed screenshots of tweets by party leaders and political parties making their way on to Instagram and Facebook. The reason being, Twitter has fewer users than other sites but can easily kick-start the conversation on Facebook & Instagram when these are shared. Jeremy Corbyn has now started using the screenshot to reach a wider audience, his main social media platform is Twitter, and evidence suggests that those who talk politics on twitter tend to support Labour. Hence why Corbyn has now began posting screenshots of his tweets on to Facebook.

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Conservatives have also been posting screenshots of tweets and not just their own tweets, but other party members in order to criticise them. They posted a screenshot of a Corbyn tweet regarding Brexit policy labeling it as “dither & delay”. Instagram, which is generally known for its pleasing aesthetic is also seeing a large amount of screenshotted tweet posts. Both Corbyn and Johnson have been posting simple screenshots on their profiles, as it stands however Corbyn has been receiving much more interactions with his posts.

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

Both Corbyn and Johnson have started to use Snapchat for campaigning posts hinting at their attempts to engage with an even younger audience. The posts mainly combine video with graphics and text, however, don’t seem overly informative.

RELATABILITY & PERSONALITY

Now more than ever, the importance of personality and being relatable to the younger generation is crucial for politicians. What Johnson seems to lack in relatability, Corbyn has definitely taking advantage with this through the use of his videos on his personal Instagram account.

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The six second video clip above garnered over 175,000 views and has been by far the most successful on a politicians personal account. All of the parties seem to have raised their game on Instagram since this and there has been an increase in most political parties followers. There are over 20 million Instagram accounts in the UK with the majority of those users under 45. This is a key demographic that Labour really want to reach and its clear that they are going the right way about it.

A lot has changed since 2017 when Labour outsmarted the other political parties with their digital campaign. They can no longer be certain of dominance across all digital platforms. However, Labour’s strategy of attacking the rich through Twitter & Facebook have been well – received and they continue to garner the most interactions. For how long it will stay that way, we don’t know. I suspect a few more twists in this digital election.

Eoghan Gilmore is a final year Bsc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. He can be found at: Instagram – eoghangilmore , LinkedIn – https://ie.linkedin.com/in/eoghan-gilmore-106a89164

Kevin puts on a Christmas Cracker

With Christmas sweets spotted in shops before Halloween even ended this year, are you feeling the festive fever? Christmas campaigns are also starting earlier each year and it’s getting hard to turn on the TV without being bombarded with adverts telling you how little time you have to buy presents for your loved ones and why you should buy from their store. Amidst the madness one advert in particular stood out to me, Aldi’s advert featuring Kevin the carrot.

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A few weeks ago, Aldi released a very simple but effective 10 second teaser featuring the ‘Leafy Blinders.’ In the video we see a host of Brussel Sprouts, in my opinion the undisputed badies of Christmas, dressed in Peaky Blinder style flat caps. During the clip they state that they’re, ‘Here to take back Christmas, by order of the Leafy Blinders’ followed by a ripped newspaper featuring an article on Kevin. Anyone who has watched a single episode of the Peaky Blinders will see the clear resemblance to the show from the lighting to the thick accents. The teaser didn’t give much away but was enough to peak your interest.

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So, what’s the craic with Kevin?

Two weeks later the full Christmas advert was released showing Kevin in all his glory. The ad starts with Kevin tided up to a grater while the Leafy Blinders heckle him, the narrator can be heard saying ‘Christmas before Kevin was all about sprouts’ which explains their anger. The whole narration of the advert is done in a rhyming style which makes it more fun. During this scene Kevin can be seen wearing a circus master’s outfit but the reason for this is still unclear. A tomato is then thrown at Kevin in a bid to harm him but in a turn of events this little tomato chews through the ropes tying Kevin up. He then thanks ‘tiny tom’ for his help. This is a well thought through character as Tiny Tom is a well-known name and obviously Tom can be short for tomato. We are also starting to see a picture being built up of the array of fruit and veg Aldi stock without even realising it.

The pair can be seen running through the snow to arrive at a beautiful circus tent where we catch another pun as Kevin tells tommy to ‘Catch up’ like ketchup. The background music starts to kick in here and we can hear the catchy tune of Let Me Entertain You by Robbie Williams, not your average Christmas carol but it’s guaranteed to be stuck in your head all day. There has been discussion around whether Robbie is actually singing this version, the verdict has been unsure but I think it adds to the Christmas magic to imagine that it is.

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Kevin then takes the stage as PT Barnum from the film The Greatest Showman and lets us know that, ‘Sprouts are gone and Kevin’s here!’ He can be seen throughout the rest of the advert running around an abundance of festive treats from mince pies to turkey and ham while the crowds cheer in glee. This makes the consumer feel that in order to have a showstopping Christmas they need to purchase all this food to impress their guests. There is a further nod towards The Greatest Showman as a carrot, who we presume to be Kevin’s partner, wears a purple wig like Anne Wheeler in the film. Towards the end of the advert a ‘good’ Brussel sprout lands in a canon and states that, ‘it’s time to blast off,’ all these hidden jokes make the advert fun to watch for all ages. We then see the final scene of the family of carrots standing together. Aldi have done an excellent job at combining this film from popular culture into their advert and with the sparkling lights and array of food it’s hard to look away!

Upon further research into Kevin the carrot I found out that this is not his first acting debut, he has in fact been the star of Aldi’s Christmas adverts from 2016. Other adverts included big films from that year, including a remake of Murder on the Orient Express where we see Kevin fall in love with Katie. Many people feel as though they have followed Kevin through major milestones in his life and have grown to love him so last year Aldi released a range of Kevin the carrot soft toys, with plans to do the same this year. The queues were phenomenal with the toys selling out in record time and even being sold for upwards of £1000 on eBay. I think all this shows how strongly a well thought out campaign can appeal to the public as each year Aldi are essentially advertising the same products just piggybacking off the back of a popular cultural film and it has proven to be very effective. Besides at the end of the day Kevin the carrot is just a carrot.

 

Benita Brown is a Final Year Bsc Communication Management and Public Relations (CMPR) student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Instagram – @benitabrown96 and LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/benita-brown-929911194/