Aldi Shows 'Ebanana Scrooge' the True Meaning of Christmas
"Ebanana Scrooge" is such a little dickens.
He hates Christmas, and even knocks over snowmen with his cane. But Aldi adjusts this particular plantain's bah-humbug attitude in an animated holiday ad unwrapped today.
McCann U.K. crafted the tale, "A Christmas Carrot," with Psyop directors Todd Mueller, Kylie Matulick and Kyle Cassidy. Manchester United star Marcus Rashford voices the character of Marcus Radishford, and an instrumental take on the Pogues bittersweet "Fairytale of New York," a British Xmas classic, plays on the soundtrack.
Does Kevin the Carrot, beloved star of Aldi's yuletide offerings from the past five years, put in an appearance? Well d'uh and double d'uh!
Ah Kevin—you've just got to root for that vegetable. (Fans might recognize the photo in his house, showing the family in their garb from Aldi's "Christmas Showman" ad two years ago.)
Of course, Aldi had to bring him back, but why cast a banana to riff on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol? Surely not for scale?
Dave Price, CCO at McCann Manchester, explains: "We wanted to tease that Kevin might not be back this year. Then we found out that reindeer like bananas as much as carrots. So, we thought, why not start a new tradition and get kids to leave a mince pie for Father Christmas and a banana for Rudolf?"
Indeed, Ebanana's backstory, told in the teaser below, involves getting passed over for ground meat in puff pastry:
So ... he's pissed that he didn't get devoured? You expect more logic from a talking banana!
Bob Golding voices the dude in appealing style. (D'oh!) McCann's own Clive Davis stars as Kevin, and Jim Broadbent provides narration, as he has in past Aldi extravaganzas.
Rashford, who earned England's MBE honor for his efforts to end child hunger, chimes in with a line near the end.
"As a family, we relied on the local food bank to get our Christmas dinner," the striker says in campaign materials. "I remember queuing outside that building with Mum, and Mum feeling embarrassed that she might be recognized. It is with that in mind that I'm delighted to lend my support to the Aldi campaign." (The supermarket chain will provide nearly 1.8 million meals to needly families this festive season.)
"For many children in situations like mine growing up, there is very little expectation around this time of year," Rashford says. "Add the impact of the pandemic and the very least they deserve is a Christmas dinner."
As for the swirling strains of "Fairytale," originally released in 1987, "We're always on the hunt for good music," Price says. "'Fairytale of New York' was voted the nation's favorite Christmas song in 2012, so we've had it on our list for a good few years. Once we had this storyline mapped out, there was almost no other choice. It was the perfect fit: a little bit sad at the start, then more joyful, all building to an emotional ending."
Such fare serves as cultural markers, much as the Peanuts and Rankin Bass specials once did. Their predictable appearance soothes weary souls, perhaps more so than ever as we struggle to emerge from the pandemic.
"A Christmas Carrot" continues the tradition of high-profile U.K. holiday commercials, a marketing bonanza often compared to the Super Bowl. Notable work so far in 2021 includes spots from John Lewis, Boots, Marks & Spencer and Sports Direct.
Says Price: "Covid has change our world. And last Christmas, many of us couldn’t be with the people we loved. So, this year we wanted to land an idea that was full of hope and joy. Even though it was all written in lockdown our team at McCann, were all dreaming of the perfect Christmas."
Sean McGinty, Marketing Director
Adam Zavalis, Marketing Director
Jennifer Thomas, Marketing Manager
Jake Garner, Marketing Assistant
Dave Price, Chief Creative Officer
Andy Fenton, Creative Lead
Clive Davis, Creative Lead
Simon Buchanan, Managing Director
Laura Mckinlay, Managing Partner
Jane Colbeck, Business Director
Emily-Jane Brown, Business Director
Cara Harcombe, Senior Account Manager
Lucy Moore, Head of TV
Jamie Peate, Head of Effectiveness (UK) & MWG Global Head of Retail Strategy
Darren Hawkins, Group Strategy Director
Directors: Todd Mueller, Kylie Matulick and Kyle Cassidy
Chief Executive Producer: Justin Booth-Clibborn
Executive Producer - Live Action: Noah Goldsmith
Executive Producer: Joe Maggiore
Executive Producer: Tracey Cooper
Producer: Paz Parasmand
Production Manager: Charlotte Jones
Director of Photography: Matt Fox
Marshall Street Editors
Editor: John Mayes
Sound Engineer: Parv Thind