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Product: Retail (Supermarket)
Advertiser: Aldi Stores (Ireland) Limited
Medium: Cinema, Television
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 3.3, 3.16, 3.20
A television advertisement featured a family of animated carrots. The mother and children were shown travelling through an airport and once seated on the airplane, the mother realises that her husband Kevin is missing.
Kevin is shown relaxing at home watching football when he notices that there is someone outside trying to break into the home. The advertisement then features various scenes based on the movie ‘Home Alone’ in which the character Kevin is shown using traps to stop the intruder breaking into the home. In one scene, Kevin is shown jumping out of a window ziplining on a wire that extends from the house. Kevin then falls from the wire landing into a snowman’s lower torso. Santa Claus appears, and Kevin falls to the ground and is reunited with his family.
The voiceover of the advertisement included:
Child character in airport: “Mummy, can I give my pocket money to Barnardos? Their helping families in need.”
Main voiceover: “Christmas in Paris. A family vacation. But wasn’t someone missing from this festive celebration?
For this little carrot would spend Christmas at home. And he often gets scared when left all alone.
Quaking in his roots, he had to make a stand and tackle the intruder with traps he carefully planned. Then all of a sudden, he had a bright idea which almost dashed his hopes of seeing in New Year. Fearing that his plans had left him quite exposed, he made a hasty exit to become a Snowman’s ....nose?”
Kevin: “Santa! Thank goodness you’re here. Someone’s been trying to get in.”
Main Voiceover: “But even though Kevin was a little worse for wear, he was overjoyed to have everybody there.”
On screen text at the end of the advertisement stated: “Raising €1 Million for Barnardos.”
Twenty-Three complaints were received against the advertisement. The complainants raised the following issues:
All complainants considered that the advertisement was offensive as it had used sexual innuendo in the scene where the carrot landed on the snowman’s lower torso.
Several complainants objected to the advertisement on the grounds that it was inappropriate to children given that the theme of the advertisement was based on what they considered was a children’s movie, ‘Home Alone’; that the Kevin the carrot character was sold as a soft toy in the advertisers’ stores and the charity featured in the advertisement was a children’s charity.
The advertisers stated that the advertisement was a parody of the film ‘Home Alone’ and was intended to be a light-hearted send up of the film portraying Kevin the Carrot as the main character from the film. The advertisers stated that the complaints related to a portion of the advertisement that occurred towards the end and they believed that the advertisement was fully compliant with the ASAI Code. They said that they accepted that the portion of the advertisement objected to was mildly suggestive in a light-hearted way, and that this brand of humour was consistent with a long history of such in animated productions from the largest film and animation producers. They said that the advertisement had been favourably received by the Irish media and they believed that the vast majority of the viewing public had no issue with the advertisement.
The advertisers said that the advertisement had not been aimed at children, rather it had targeted Aldi customers generally who were more likely adults. They provided details of the television spots of when the advertisement aired for the dates referred to by the complainants which they said showed that it had not aired during children’s programming. They also said that they had purchased media spots targeting an audience profile known as ‘housekeepers with kids’ which was a traceable audience profile which showed that they had targeted adults.
In regard to the featuring of the charity, the advertisers stated that, while it was a children’s charity, children were not the target audience of any financial appeal. They said that adults were the target audience as they were likely to support a children’s charity and make some form of a financial donation.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaints and the advertisers’ response.
Issue 1 – Not Upheld:
The Committee noted that the advertisement was a parody of the movie ‘Home Alone’ and had featured the main character ‘Kevin the Carrot’ landing on the lower torso of a snowman. The Committee noted the requirements of the Code and that while the advertisement mildly suggestive, it had been presented in a light-hearted way. They did not consider that the advertisement was in breach of the Code on the grounds raised.
Issue 2 – Not Upheld:
The Committee noted that some complainants considered that the advertisement was inappropriate to children given the use of the character and the reference to a children’s charity. The Committee also noted the details provided by the advertisers regarding the media plan including the details of when the advertisement had aired. While the Committee noted the concerns raised by the complainants, as the advertisement had not been targeted at children, nor had it aired during children’s programming, they did not consider that it was in breach of the Code on the grounds raised.
No further action required.