Aleksandr the Meerkat – advertising becomes total engagement

Ask most marketers for the most memorable advertising campaign of the last four years and it is likely that many will cite Compare the Meerkat as being the number one.

The adventures of Aleksandr and his relatives have now entered mainstream consciousness with books, cuddly toys and the catch phrase ‘Simples’ now in the Oxford dictionary.

However, the campaign started apparently because a clever search marketer realised that the phrase ‘compare meerkat’ would be much cheaper for Google PPC than ‘compare market’. And the rest is history!

Yet the original campaign was to sell ‘boring’ insurance. Agency VCCP certainly succeeded! The campaign has become a marketing blueprint for how to create a brand in the age social media.

But perhaps such an extraordinary success cannot be repeated. The point about Aleksandr is that he is engaging on every level: cute face (check), soft fur (check), memorable voice (check), caring behaviour in the wild (check) and so on.

Compare The Market launched in France last year with a ferret but there is not the same viral ‘buzz’ about it yet that Aleksandr caused.

Maybe the truth is that he has transcended ‘mere’ advertising and is becoming a standalone brand in his own right.

Perhaps one day we will see him not advertise insurance but be ‘free’ to become a traditional character like Paddington Bear.

That really would show the power of advertising!

Sabra Swinson

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