Comparethemarket.com twins with Corrie to generate more brand love

  • Comparethemarket.com wanted to drive desire for the cuddly meerkat toys
  • They teamed up with the iconic show Coronation Street
  • As a result, they drove purchase intent by 63%

The Challenge

Comparethemarket.com is a successful price comparison site that was founded in 2006. In 2009, the brand really took off when they introduced the meerkats from Meerkovo into their marketing activity. However, despite continued success, the category is extremely competitive and the brand knew it needed to keep the brand moving forward in order to maintain its market position.  

They knew that people are driven by emotion and that lasting appeal comes from establishing engaging characters and following the relationships between them. Customers were rewarded with a free cuddly meerkat every time they took out an insurance policy with comparethemarket.com and so the key business objective was to drive demand for the toys. To generate desire for the toy, they needed to drive love for the characters.  

The decided they needed to establish a home for the brand at the heart of British culture and get the British public to love the meerkats even more than they did already.  

The Solution

They decided to sponsor the biggest show on UK television, which is of course Coronation Street. However, they would do more than just sponsor the programme – the Street would be ‘twinned’ with Meerkovo so the meerkats would be part of the whole Corrie experience.   

Coronation Street is an iconic part of British culture that has been around for 53 years. Comparethemarket.com knew they needed to tread carefully in order not to alienate Corrie viewers. They wanted to show proper respect for the show and to introduce Corrie viewers gently to the new partnership. Two weeks before launch, they released a viral ad that showed the meerkats giving a Russian make-over to the Corrie theme tune. This aired on itv.com, Facebook, YouTube and then also on ITV1. This set their tone for their respect of the programme and how they were going to work with some of the iconic elements of the show. It was also highly entertaining in its own right. 

For the first time ever, ITV allowed them to film sponsorship idents on the Street itself so the activity felt fully integrated. Further activation included Philip Schofield interviewing Aleksandr live on This Morning where he talked about his love of Corrie and also the meerkats publically sent friendly tweets to the cast at important moments (e.g. at The Soap Awards).

One year into the sponsorship, Comparethemarket.com got lucky. Gary Barlow, a big fan of Corrie, had an album to promote. They worked with Gary’s management team and the Corrie producers to come up with a lovely ad that worked for everybody involved and showcased the partnership beautifully.

Results

  • The partnership delivered massive awareness – from 0% to 84% in just 3 months
  • 84% of viewers said they “enjoy watching the creative”
  • Spontaneous response to creative was 56%
  • The Corrie theme tune had over 2.7m viewers and 4,000 tweets
  • Most important of all, the intention to collect the full set of meerkat toys grew by 63% to 39% amongst Corrie viewers compared to 24% of non-viewers. 

Databank

Sector: Financial services

Brand: comparethemarket.com

Campaign objectives: To drive brand love and desire for the meerkat toys

Target Audience:  All adults

Budget: approx. £10m per year

Campaign Dates: The sponsorship began in November 2012 as part of a 3 year partnership

TV Usage: Broadcast sponsorship

Creative Agency: VCCP

Media Agency:  Zenith Optimedia/Newcast

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