Gio Compario and Aleksander Orlov demonstrate the enduring strength of TV advertising

The recent market performances of insurance brands comparethemarket.com and gocompare.com are a cheerful counter to all those gloomy predictions that the salami slicing of the internet, where in theory we can each be targeted individually with exactly what we’ve always desired, will see the end of mass advertising.

These two have been so popular that Gio Compario, the moustachioed opera singer in the gocompare ads is this week releasing his first single to raise funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust while A Simples Life, the autobiography of Aleksander Orlov, the star of comparethemarket’s meerkat commercials, has hit the top of the Sunday Times’s non-fiction bestseller list, with sales to date over 120,000.

Who’s going to bet against Gio reaching the number one spot in the Christmas singles charts or Aleksander’s musings continuing to beat off opposition from the scribblings of the likes of Stephen Fry, Keith Richards, Paul O’Grady and Lord Sugar?

Both these brands have been built by old-fashioned TV advertising, where a good idea (OK, an extremely irritating one in gocompare’s case) has been merchandised to great effect and entered the public consciousness. Kids sing the gocompare jingle in the playground and Aleksander’s sign-off shout “Simples” has entered the Collins English dictionary.

Most importantly there’s been commercial payback too, with gocompare’s brand awareness up by 60 per cent and the comparethemarket site seeing insurance quotes from its site rising by 80 per cent.

Even UK advertising giants of former decades, like Peter Marsh, Sir Frank Lowe or Charles Saatchi, might have been proud of building one of these brands.

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About David O'Reilly

David is a former deputy editor of Campaign and writer for a number of leading titles including Management Today and the Sunday Times. He is a partner in The Editorial Partnership.
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