Adwatch: Competitors, time to go compare

What GoCompare lacks in subtlety, it makes up for in effectiveness.

GoCompare: ad launched in August
GoCompare: ad launched in August

On a recent fateful and hot bank holiday weekend, GoCompare.com aired its brand new creative. Yep, the one we all loathed that possessed the subtlety of Extinction Rebellion, the taste of Marmite and the appearance of a mascot, Gio Compario, with more broadcast lives than a cat. 

Yet, two months after airing, the data paints a very different picture. The financial services comparison brand’s share of voice on TV increased to 45% versus Comparethemarket.com at 30%, according to Nielsen Ad Dynamix – an impressive result considering how fiercely competitive share of voice is in GoCompare’s category.

Is the proof really in the pudding, then?

Yes, the messaging doesn't resonate and the ad is unsurprisingly gauche. It has received a huge number of complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, as well as from road-safety charity Brake, and has garnered acres of scornful column inches. Surely not the desired cut-through originally KPI-ed.

But GoCompare’s apparent strategy of doubling down on small impactful bursts of TV activity has actually paid off despite the opprobrium. 

Noticeably, GoCompare is boosting its airtime with a new charge in TV, although in a far more cost-efficient way, at a time when the category has been reducing TV spend. This is resulting in a much more holistic media mix over the past 18 months that’s widening touchpoints with consumers across traditional properties.

With all the freebies and jargon circulating around insurance, the category has solely been communicating low prices to the public for an eternity. But the dial has now shifted, hence GoCompare’s brand overhaul announcement back in August and the brand’s desire to be less reliant on its boorish mascot and focus on value. Smart move.

As the marketing industry obsesses over death, it appears the consumer is a bit less bothered over the timely death of Gio, whose accident might not be in vain if the sector will change course from the ashes. And while the creative on first look was apparently not so clever, GoCompare achieving such an increased share of voice from a £1.3m investment in airtime will not have been missed by other price-comparison websites.

Competitors will no doubt now go compare their own media strategies before GoCompare eats their puddings.

TV ads 5 August-8 September 2019. Adwatch research is conducted via an internet omnibus survey among 1,000 adults in Great Britain, aged 16-64, through Research Express, part of Kantar TNS, one of the world’s leading data, insight and consulting agencies. Data supplied by Nielsen

Izzy Hazeldine is client director at The Specialist Works

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