I can’t believe that the Big Ideas blog has been up and running so long without the best advertising idea of a generation (in my humble opinion) having been mentioned.
Whether you hate them (can’t imagine that anyone could), love them, or are frustrated by the mere (excuse the pun) fact that they’re even on television in the first place, the meerkats created by comparethemarket.com are the cleverest thing to come out of advertising in a long while.
One simple ad, introducing a strange furry character with a Russian accent and one word catchphrase, has grown out of all proportion into an unbelievably detailed comparison website showcasing any number of meerkat characters, a selection of cuddly toys, which can be won by buying insurance through comparethemarket.com, and now a fictional autobiography by Aleksandr Orlov, the first meerkat and founder of comparethemeerkat.com.
I think the whole thing is just amazing. Comparethemarket.com have managed to artificially manufacture a twin sister brand out of nothing; a brand which exists purely to intrigue and amuse consumers, to capture their attention and then direct them to what is essentially the most boring service provider in the history of the universe: an insurance comparison website.
Confused.com must be kicking themselves.
I was discussing this with an American associate today who posited that the idea really wasn’t new at all and was inspired by the Geico Gecko ads in the USA. I admit, the gecko has charm, but does he have a family history? Did his great great grandfather Griffin Geckon the 3rd fight in the great Gecko Toad war of 1832? Does the Geico Gecko have his own autobiography, available on Amazon for £6.10?
I think not. The meerkats have it. One of my personal favourites is ready to play at the top of this post. Another corker is the latest in the meerkat saga, promoting the ‘Simples Rewards’ meerkat cuddly toys.