March 5, 2009

Edging ever closer to doing what punters think it does, i.e. comparing the market, comparison site comparethemarket.com has added twelve new motor insurance brands to its panel in recent weeks. If you really need to know, they are: Quote a Car, Broker King, Policy Shop, One Call, Premium Choice, My Motor Quote, Insure Your Motor, 1st Central, Express, Only Insurance, Insure and Insure Pink.

Commenting on this development, commercial director Jeremy Moll said “Our  meerkat’ marketing campaign is driving unprecedented levels of traffic to the site, so all our partners are benefiting from major exposure to potential customers.” Presumably with a higher conversion rate than that sad man in the macintosh on the heath.

Said meerkat campaign, which shamelessly combines comedy, cute furry animals, catchy ditties, and endless repetition certainly seems to be doing the business.

Aleksandr Orlov, bastard offspring of Borat and Stavros via that very popular wildlife documentary a few years back and supposed founder of comparethemeerkat.com, now has 249,826 fans on facebook, a loyal following on Twitter, and appears to have captured the public imagination in a way Harrry Hastings, Michael Winner and that Elephant can only dream about, helping to make comparethemarket the UK’s leading aggregator site.

It could all have been so different if confused.com had given Henry Engelhardt free rein with his fondness for animal imagery (see Admiral results story) and gone with a koala rather than a stick-man Saint without the savoir faire/Purple Ronnie without the humour.

But of course, the real masterstroke pulled by comparethemarket’s TV spots is the way they fold over on themselves by enacting the benefit they claim to offer. This meerkat doesn’t merely offer comparison, he performs it before your very eyes.

Comparing comparethemarket with comparethemeerkat justifies playing what is effectively the same jingle twice in quick succession (attempting to spot the difference encourages paying attention) and mentioning or displaying the website name (or a permutation of it) seven or eight times per ad. Genius!

Is it really a news story when an aggregator adds a couple of firms to its panel? Probably not. We just put this one in because we love meerkats!


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