#JusticeforKevin, #NoKevinNoChristmas, #BringBackKevin are but a few hashtags that have circled the web since Aldi dropped the bombshell that its lovable 3p carrot had been put to bed.
But that's precisely the reaction that the supermarket and McCann UK were after.
For five chapters, the British public has followed his antics, whether he be riding on Santa’s bike, saving his lover from a rumbling train, producing baby chantenays or taking on a bunch of villainous sprouts, aptly named The Leafy Blinders.
"Every year we have to question whether Kevin deliver what we need him to deliver," Dave Price, chief creative officer at McCann Manchester, said. "We all know there is huge public love for him. But equally, at some point, people will fall out of love with him.
"We always want to be ahead of that feeling."
Each January Price brings together two creative teams – team Kevin and the non-Kevin gang. "It's a battle that gets very competitive," he said. "Everyone wants the Christmas gig."
This year, Price said, they explored what happens when you kill off Kevin. How do you move on?
"We talked about new characters. And it wasn't a given that we were going to stay in the world of animation" he said.
"While the idea of no more Kevin was really strong, he won in research. So we got to the point of the teaser, which was what happens if you imply he isn't coming back."
Given that 170,000 people queued online to buy a Kevin the Carrot toy last year, a portion of the British public will be relieved to hear that Kevin features in the sixth chapter which airs today.
A Dickensian-style take on the Christmas classic, "A Christmas carrot" follows the story of Ebanana Scrooge who has fallen out of love with the festive season.
In the film, Ebanana is reminded of its joys by a Christmas spirit – though this takes the form of Kevin the Carrot rather than his deceased former employers.
At McCann, the creative leads were Andy Fenton and Clive Davis. Todd Mueller, Kylie Matulick and Kyle Cassidy directed the spot through Psyop.
The animated Yuletide story introduces viewers to a medley of fruit and vegetable characters – including Marcus Radishford, which is voiced by the England striker Marcus Rashford, as well as Tiny Tom, Peas and Goodwill, and Kevin’s Dickensian family.
When asked whether a banana is particularly festive, Price said reindeer like them as much as carrots.
Beyond the campaign, Aldi has teamed up with Neighbourly, the volunteer platform, to provide 1.8 million meals to families in need over the festive season.
This article first appeared in Campaign.