Tuesday 6 January 2009

Meerkats and Virgins

'Tis the season for new ad campaigns
New year, new TV shows, new ad campaigns, hello 2009. And although the news isn't great, the quality of the advertising definitely is. You may have noticed I don't talk much about TV spots much on here, and claim that that is because I am so tech-ed up that I don't watch them. To be fair, I do watch enough to know that they are very very rarely worth talking about, so it's great when two run in the same (Celeb Big Brother..... yeah I know, but it was the first day back and I didn't fancy thinking) ad break.

Virgin Atlantic's stylish cheery recreation of the 80s stopping to scrape its jaws off the floor as Virgin 2009 walks past is not only a gorgeous visual metaphor for Virgin's 'ahead of the pack/BA' positioning when it launched, and a hat tip to how valid that position will have to be this year, but it also made me smile. On the first Monday back to work in the month of Depressing that was no small feat.

But not as much as comparing meerkats has!

This is a lovely piece of work, and you can just picture the lightbulb mome
nt.... a brief would say something like 'undifferentiated market, low recognition and awareness - create personality and warmth', and then someone realised that 'Market' sounds a bit like 'Meerkat', especially if you say it in a Russian accent. Great concept, brave client (Disclaimer - although this is a Zed client, it's not one I work on), and top work from VCCP (see Amelia Torode's take on the VCCP view). Rick from Zed has more detail on the campaign itself.

The little touches that really made made me smile were how this idea has been carried over into other media. There is obviously a spoof 'Compare the Meerkat' site, which does allow you to compare meerkats based on size, location and sporting prowess (can't help thinking they missed a trick in not allowing you to export these to use as social network badges or even avatars. Still, hindsight is a great thing when you see 3,000 people friend a made-up character on day one of the campaign). There are multiple opportunities to reference the more traditional side of the category - £s saved on your car insurance, % of people who will save money, etc, but the tone of the ad (ie Aleksandr's frustration at being constantly asked about car insurance) allows this to be done in exactly the sort of frustrated & bored way that you or I would talk about price comparison sites, rather than the over-excited marketingese that usually passes for copywriting in these sorts of ads.

And yes, his name is Aleksandr, I know this because I'm friends with him on Facebook (along with 3,500 others), where among other things he points out upcoming TV ads, and comments on them in real time. As far as I know this is the first TV ad listing on Facebook
He also appears to be the first meerkat on Twitter - although not apparent first thing yesterday morning, he quickly joined in and started following people like me who had been tweeting about him earlier. On both networks he is acting like a human (okay, a meerkat), and talking about advertising only when asked about it (to be fair this is most of the time). He's also favouriting stuff on YouTube and becoming a fan of other FB brandsNice work too both campaigns, and thanks for cheering me up - let's hope this is the first of many 'great advertising' posts this year.


Anonymous said...

I’m impressed by how well they’ve done this campaign, they are engaging with the audience (via Twitter rather than just sticking up a youtube video and hoping for the best. The bloopers video is a nice touch http://tinyurl.com/crqklc

Post a Comment