Aldi stores have been besieged by shoppers queuing, shoving and reportedly even fighting to get their hands on its new Kevin the carrot festive toy range.
The discount store chain stocked its shelves with 2m Kevin-related toys and products in preparation for the annual stampede of shoppers desperate to snap up the star of its Christmas campaign.
When the products went on sale yesterday, on what Aldi calls “Orange Thursday” – a play on the manic buying spree that attends the annual Black Friday retail bonanza – there were queues of up to 50 people outside stores and reports of scuffles breaking out as shoppers scrambled to snap up themed products. The company said an “unprecedented number of customers” swamped its stores at opening time to get their hands on a range that spans Kevin the carrot stationery at £1.99, to a three-foot toy at £19.99 and an inflatable snow globe priced at £49.99.
Aldi bosses have brought in a strict limit of two toys per customer from the range, which includes Kevin, Katie, Russell Sprout and Tiny Tom.
“We know our Kevin the carrot soft toys and merchandise are incredibly popular with our customers and this year we increased the amount on offer,” said Julie Ashfield, the managing director of buying at Aldi UK. “To give as many Kevin fans as possible the chance to buy the range, we have limited purchases to two soft toys per customer but as with all of our specialbuys products, once they’re gone, they’re gone.”
Kevin the carrot has been a staple of Aldi’s Christmas campaigns since 2016 and has joined the cult status held by a few advertising characters that have become national favourites.
Before the demise of ITV Digital, there was huge demand for its TV frontman Monkey. After the TV business went bust in 2002, the cuddly toys traded for hundreds of pounds as collectors’ items on eBay.
After Levi’s introduced Flat Eric to the world in 1999 the yellow fluffy puppet went on to become a cross-media sensation, releasing a single, Flat Beat, that sold millions of copies and spent two weeks at No 1.
More recently, Comparethemarket.com’s meerkat Aleksandr Orlov – best known for his catchphrase “Simples” – has made the transition from screen to retail phenomenon. In 2009 a limited number of 5,000 Orlov toys were meant to go on sale exclusively at Harrods. However, excessive demand prompted the then owner, Mohamed Al Fayed, to donate the entire stock of £19.95 toys to children’s charities.