Pick of the Week: Gio Compario's new career is more than the sum of its parts

The irritating advertising stalwart is elevated by an idea on the threshold of action thriller and slapstick comedy.


Long before I wrote about advertising for a living, I was doing my own armchair Private View. As unemployed graduates in the dark post-crisis days, my flatmate and I spent hours watching daytime TV and passing judgment on the ads. We dedicated our most in-depth analysis to the output of a certain price-comparison brand and its infuriating opera singer. 

Without realising it, we accidentally identified what marketers would probably describe as "creating complex memory structures" (or something) in GoCompare.com’s ads; after lodging itself firmly in the part of the brain that remembers annoying jingles, the brand relocated Gio Compario to a wide range of genre-based settings, each with its own set of well-established conventions, thus ensuring that bloody song would go echoing round the heads of viewers for the rest of time.

It means, for example, I’ll never be able to see another remake of The Mummy (one of which I assume will arrive every decade for the rest of my life) without thinking of the brand.

Since then, the big fella has been murdered on screen by both Sue Barker and Stephen Hawking – but like Imhotep himself, Gio never stays dead forever. Fortunately, the brand and its new agency Droga5 London had the sense to recognise that while the character still had legs, no-one wanted to hear the GoCompare tune again and the character needed to be used in a brand new way.

What they came up with – a 999-style disaster re-enactment – has the same hazily surreal vibe that made Droga5’s first Barclaycard ad earlier this year such a treat. Like that ad, it’s also spiked with mild cruelty – in this case, directed at people who definitely don’t deserve it. If you’re one of them… sorry, I guess?

Brand GoCompare
Title Tree
Agency Droga5 London
Creatives Ashley Hamilton and Sara Sutherland
Production company Biscuit Filmworks
Director Jeff Low