Wombat is a Winning Addition to the Meerkat Family

Compare the Market



Last time we saw the Compare the Market meerkats, back in January, the brand had just made a major change. The introduction of Carl The Wombat, the meerkats’ Australian cousin, marked the first non-meerkat addition to the core cast.

Fluent Devices can sometimes use a little freshening up. Adding a new character can bring new life to a long-running campaign without removing the elements people know and love. But changing them is still a risk. Would Carl The Wombat be like Sesame Steet’s Elmo, who was introduced ten years into the show but quickly becoming a beloved fixture? Or would he be like Scooby’s Scrappy Doo, an unwanted bolt-on who became a byword for irritating newcomers?

Fortunately, on Carl’s first outing the verdict was… simples. Viewers loved the bumbling wombat, whose misadventures represent the mistakes made by people who don’t check first before rushing into a decision (like buying insurance). So far, so good. As a one-off, people liked Carl. The next challenge is whether they’d enjoy him as a recurring part of the Meerkat mythos.

This month saw Compare the Market and agency VCCP release the next Carl ad, and we’re delighted to say the response is even better than his debut. The ad sees the newcomer take his turn with the cooking, but his carelessness has terrible consequences for the long-sufferng Sergei.

It’s obvious VCCP are having a ton of fun with the possibilities Carl brings to the campaign, and that fun is infectious. On the Test Your Ad platform the new ad scores a very strong 4.7-Stars, closing in on the brand’s best scores this decade – and unsurprisingly, way ahead of all Compare the Market’s banking and insurance rivals. The ad also achieves an Exceptional short-term Spike score.

That Star rating is an improvement on Carl’s debut (which got 4.5-Stars) – a sign that audiences are warming even more to the wombat and the extra dynamic he brings to the Compare the Market ads.

Changes in ad campaigns don’t usually attract the kind of public fan excitement or debate that changes in big media franchises get. But a successful Fluent Device character is a media property nonetheless, and the same dynamics apply. You need to balance novelty and familiarity while remaining true to what people loved about the characters in the first place. Compare the Market and VCCP are giving us a real-time lesson in how to do that well.

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