ID Comms

Will Gocompare’s £28m media review finally turn down the volume on annoying tenor Gio Compario?

Well we can only take so much.

Price comparison site Gocompare.com’s campaign featuring bellowing tenor Gio Compario (actually a Welshman) has no doubt done wonders for the brand awareness and profits of the Esure-backed website but Gio is surely in danger of outstaying his welcome.

Now the company is reviewing its media buying arrangements with WPP-owned MEC (formerly Chris Ingram’s CIA). According to Campaign MEC won the business in 2007 on its promise to drive ‘quality’ traffic to the site, as opposed to driving it mad.

The current media plan seems to target low-priced UK digital TV channels with an ad in each one of the interminable commercial breaks (digi channels have longer ad breaks than ITV or Channel 4). Whether or not this is a ‘quality’ audience must be left to the number crunchers although, aside from price comparison websites, the other main advertisers seem to be ambulance-chasing lawyers or debt consolidation companies. Well we’re all short of a buck these days.

The omnipresence of fat and loud Gio is a testament to the considerable and clearly pragmatic creative skills of veteran husband and wife creative team Chris Wilkins and Sian Vickers (both of whom are civilised characters and not noisy at all) and Esure boss Peter Wood’s high opinion of them.

Wood was the founder of Direct Line insurance, since sold to Royal Bank of Scotland, and employed Wilkins and Vickers on that and also women’s insurance firm Sheila’s Wheels. He also commissioned a famous series of ads for Esure, featuring former film director Michael Winner, a man who can compete with anyone in the annoying stakes, but, according to Winner anyway, he wrote the script for those.

The aim of the media review might simply be to try to find an agency that can execute the current plan better than MEC by generating even more noise for less. In which case radio audiences will no doubt rise even faster (even Gio can’t appear on the BBC).

Or it could be a recognition that we need a break from the noisy tenor. Let’s hope so.

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campaign Chris Ingram Chris Wilkins cia direct line esure Gio Compario gocompare.com insurance mec media review Michael Winner Peter Wood price comparison website sheila's wheels Sian Vickers welsh tenor WPP

About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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