Aleksandr OrlovHad to post when this campaign landed in my facebook inviting me to become a fan of Alexandr Orlov – a meerkat.

The campaign spearheaded by the aggregate guys behind compare the has a clear appeal for a younger audience and a nice standout amongst the other brands that rely on their daytime TV slots and repetitive techniques to get brand recall (not that I’m knocking the possible effectiveness of that!).

My encounter with the campaign started with total unawareness and a simple invite to become a fan of the furry friend and, thanks to tongue in cheek copy that is totally blatant from the beginning you can only feel warm towards the campaigns meerkat star. The marketers behind it have respected that lulling users into a relationship with a meerkat (should any marketer actually believe this is sensible) and then revealing it as a ploy to purchase car insurance is sure to have a negative affect on relationship power so its obvious, its predictable but its actually pretty clever!

It is for honour of my family and meerkats all over the world that I make

However, recently, this great ambition has been made look foolish by people looking for a cheap deal on their car insurance. People who are looking for

The campaign clicks through to a fully functioning site that, despite the gigantic cross promotion of (even on landing on the site it double checks you don’t want to go there instead) continues to take you through to a site that fully functions as a meerkat comparison site! In particularly I’m loving the FAQ section:

  • Can I save up to £300 on my car insurance with you?
  • No, is true could save you up to £300 on car insurance*, but I am not anything to do with that. I am Meerkat.

The clear links that have been pulled through with the site, the social app (facebook and Twitter) as well as the TVads (that I’ve not seen as yet) show an integration and brave move by the brand that relies on the success of the meerkat to bring success to the comparethemarket brand.

I for one previously saw the brand as an aggregate sitewith very little personality and, for now I may temporarily move from being to giving the meerkat a little bit more attention than I did before!




My paper is now almost due and my investigation into how FMCG brands build relationships with consumers in a digital environment is almost complete.

As part of one of my earlier posts I started (and quickly dismissed) qualitative research as consumers appeared to be unable to successfully articulate what a brand / consumer relationship was or how they felt about attempts by brands to contact them (with permission) within their personal spaces online.

With some worries about the possible outcome I then ran an online quantitative survey that easily allowed users to give their opinion through multiple choice selections. The response has shown definite trends, clear learning’s and, in contrast to the qualitative study that consumers definitely understand a brand relationship.

This is quite an interesting point. Was my in depth interviewing technique really bad OR do consumers simply not consider relationships in the way we anticipate them to as marketers?

The survey I constructed can be found here

findings to follow once the paper is safely handed in!


I’m 2/3 of he way through Wikinomics… For those of you not familiar with the work of Tapscott and Williams, and to quote the title, it looks at “How mass collaboration changes everything”.

Perhaps the notion of everything is used a little bit loosely as a title but as a manner of thinking and, in particular pushing it into the context of relationship marketing it poses an interesting theory looking at prosumers and the collective as a group worth counting on.

To quote:

The old, hardwired “plan and push” mentatility is rapidly giving way to a new, dynamic “engage and cocreate” economy

Its back to that old notion of web 2.0 (or is it now 3.0) and how as the digital space (and consumers) are evolving are marketing techniques to change with it. It remains pointless to use the same tactics with the old web as some might use with the new but how do you move a brand straight into v3.0 when they haven’t really come to terms with 1.0 yet…

I think that agencies and brands alike need to understand that evolution can’t happen at different rates. It’s not an iterative journey whereby a brand will get from A to B and, by chance, one day, they might catch up and be bang “on trend”. It instead needs to bypass the first 2 steps, be brave, and go straight to the point where it matters.

As the book goes on and talks about the idea of “prosumption” and even alluding to its future which, at the rate of the webs expansion could be very soon, the notion of collaboration and customers wanting a

genuine role in desiging the products of the future”

Is increasingly becoming something that needs to evole. The relationship, where as previously was brand to consumer, became a 2way conversation and we’re now moving a phase on to where the consumer powers that conversation with the brand. Can that really realisticly happen? Has the “prey” really become the “hunter…”

Its not an answer I’m there with yet but as I continue on my quest I’m hoping that I’ll start to build an insight into how (and if) that relationship can really stand.