When you think of car comparison websites and their television/online advertising videos. It is hard to not firstly think about compare the market.com. Their risky and infamously humorous advertising campaign launched in 2009, featuring a russian born meerkat by the name Aleksandr Orlov who owned a company with a similar name to compare the market (compare the meerkat). The advert showed Aleksandr Orlov being very vocally upset about people going onto his website when looking for theirs. This became a series of installments with a narrative that is still continuing in 2012.
This advert was a huge success, and consumers loved the advert so much that profit soared at a unexpected rate for for compare the market.com that year and the following years that followed, making it the most initially visited car comparison website amongst potential consumers . This was a direct result from the advertising campaign that stood out from any other advert at the time in terms of its content ( a 3D animated fictional Russian meerkat) as well as the way in which the campaign was carried out ( a website for ‘compare the meerkat’ was produced to back up the narrative of the advert as well as viral video campaigns that were put in place, something that was never done before then).
Since then the general public have been the victims of fleets of campaigns from competitors of ‘comparethemarket.com’. From online platforms such as you tube where they have been in front of any you tube video they would like to watch. As well as repeated on television constantly. These competitors have witnessed the well documented success of the ‘compare the meerkat’ campaign and are pulling out every trick they can think of to try and recreate such an effect on themselves. Competitors such as confused.com in particular have tried to recreate the success of this campaign by creating their own animations in an effort to create memorable characters associated to the brand. In the example of ‘gocompare.com’, they have since created an Italian opera singing stereotype, who is an animated personality as opposed to an animated medium and this character sings in various everyday situations about the benefits of using the website. However unlike the meerkat Aleksandr, the public did not take to this character and Facebook groups such as ‘The guy from the ‘gocompare.com’ adverts can go and F-Off!’ were created as a reaction to these adverts. Confused.com have also created two female animated characters that are everyday mums that people can relate to. However they lack the charisma and humor needed to achieve a similar success to ‘comparethemarket.com.’
The most unique advert from competitors since the ‘compare the meerkat’ campaign have been from ‘moneysupermarket.com’. Here they saw what worked in terms of humor and then created a campaign that centered around a slogan ‘Your so money supermarket…. and you don’t even know it’. This slogan refers to a slang american phrase in the 1990’s, made popular by the film ‘Swingers’ starring Vince Vaughn, that often featured the phrase: ‘ Your so money …and you don’t even know it’ (meaning your so cool and you don’t even know it.) Money Supermarket have taken this idea and made a series of adverts around un-cool people thinking they are cool (one example is a middle aged, over weight man in speedos on a blow up float.. trying to surf at the beach).
Despite this one has to wonder if this industries adverts have peaked to early, as it is over three years later and competitors are trying to re-create the success of something that cannot be done unless they think of something equally as unique and risky….something they have failed to do so far. At the moment these adverts are so unpopular with people as they lack inspiration and are not organically memorable to the consumer like the ‘compare the meerkat’ adverts were. Instead they are forced upon their memory, with over the top characters, simple jingle music and slogans that are repeated over and over again in the space of one advert. Even the public are getting tired of the ‘compare the meerkat’ campaign as people feel it has become stale and overused. I for one am interested to see the new direction the leaders in advertising in this new industry will go to next.