Advertising: Compare the Meerkat
We didn't put up this image just so you could get cheap car insurance!
Compare The Meerkat.Com
is a series of adverts and a website designed as nothing more than Viral Marketing
for an insurance website (comparethemarket.com). The adverts all take a similar format, Aleksandr Orlov the Meerkat will remind viewers that his website is for comparing meerkats, and not for comparing markets and urge viewers to check they have the correct URL. Then deliver his catchphrase
. For some reason, they achieved massive popularity, especially.Simples
This series provides examples of:
- Bad Boss: Aleksandr. Poor, poor Sergei.
- However, Aleksandr does come to visit him in hospital in one advert. Granted, it's only to tell him he's 4 days late for work, but considering he actually bothered to go - and even brought flowers - it's actually kinda sweet.
- Berserk Button: You want MARKET!!!!!
- Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Sergei, in early adverts he'd be frantically trying to keep the Comparing Meerkat site running despite being overwhelmed by car insurance requests.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Alexandr has failed to go broke, and has managed to stay rich despite being a complete Cloud Cuckoolander. Presumably he must be competent at financial management and knowing which Meerkats to offer.
- Catch Phrase: "Simples!"
- Celebrity Paradox: Nobody in Coronation Street seems to have noticed a sudden infestation of meerkats, a species native to South Africa and not Manchester, and nobody is asking whether this merits intervention by the zoo, the RSPCA, or Rentokil. (Compare The Meerkat is "sponsoring" the show, with commercials at the start and finish of each segment. These feature the lovable animals drinking in the Rovers, dining in Roy's café, and doing other cute meerkat-ish things. But in plain view in one of the most close-knit, nosy, streets in the north of England).
- Character Blog: Both Aleksandr and Sergei are on Twitter.
- Charge-into-Combat Cut: During "Battle Of Fearlessness"
- Doorstop Baby: Oleg the meerpup is found by Aleksander and Sergei having been left at the door.
- Explosive Instrumentation: The new IT department computer
- Fantastic Racism: Confusing Meerkats with Mongooses
Q: Isn't a meerkat a type of mongoose?
A: NO! This great insult! Mongoose not good enough to lick dropping from my shoe! I am meerkat and I live in mansion filthy mongoose could only dream about in wildest dreams.
- "The Battle Of Fearlessness" is about how his great-grandfather led the meerkats to victory over Mongis Khan's hordes (and get wounded in the process, receiving a purple claw)
- On the welcome sign of the town Meerkovo it says "mongooses not welcome".
- Aleksandr is also pretty contemptuous about muskrats when talking about his father's sideline, Compare the Muskrat.
- The twist is, of course, that meerkats *are* a kind of mongoose.
- Flashback: The trilogy about Aleksandr's family. "Journey Of Courageousness", "Battle of Fearlessness" and "Streets of Ambitiousness".
- Foreshadowing: Shortly before the ad featuring Oleg the Doorstop Baby, Sergei tweeted that he was glad he was only preparing Christmas dinner for two, and Aleksandr tweeted that Sergei's excitement about Christmas "is like having meerpup around".
- Funny Animal: meerkats are intrinsically funny.
- Funny Background Event: During the introduction of "The Battle Of Fearlessness" there are two meerkats having a sandball fight.
- In the installment where Sergei runs away to join the circus, at one point he's just about to throw one of the meerkat toys at Aleksandr's head when he turns around.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Alexsandr and Sergei - they live and work together, appear to have no other friends, and are now raising a child together. The villagers will talk...
- Identical Grandson: An Invoked Trope; the Orlov Family History Trilogy makes it clear that this is Aleksandr and Sergei playing the parts of their ancestors.
- Jerkass: Aleksandr can be this at times, more so in the book.
- Let's Duet: When Maurice finally confronts Aleksandr:
Maurice: We need to talk. And by talk we mean ... do a piano duet!
- Lzherusskie: Aleksandr and Sergei
- The Merch: For a limited time, Compare the Market customers got a Baby Oleg stuffed toy for joining.
- More Popular Spin Off: Compare the Meerkat is far more recognised than the website it promotes.
- Nerd: Sergei
- No Sense of Direction: Postkat, Meerkova's only postal official. He wanders across Europe with cuddly meerkats destined for the UK. The video clip that starts his journey even has Aleksandr hissing to him "UK is that way!", when he wanders off.
- How Aleksandr's ancestors ended up in Russia after leaving the Kalahari Desert.
- Only A Fur Wound: During "Battle Of Fearlessness", Aleksandr's great-grandfather is wounded and Sergei's great-grandfather holds him and screams to the sky. Aleksandr's great-grandfather sits up and says:
"Quiet down! It's just a fur wound."
- Pietŕ Plagiarism: After it looks like Aleksandr's great-grandpappy died in battle.
- Product Placement: The whole raison d'etre of the series
- Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Worn by Sergei
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Oleg the meerpup. This convinces Aleksandr to keep him.
- Real Trailer, Fake Movie: The three adverts where Aleksandr talks about his family's history are also trailers and film merchandise can be bought. None of the films exist.
- Retcon: Of a sort. After years of trying to get car insurance customers off his website and out of his life, Aleksandr releases a new advert which... offers a free meerkat toy to anyone buying from comparethemarket.com. There's no set-up and no explanation; he's just suddenly working with his greatest adversary.
- Makes perfect sense in real life, of course. As comparethemarket.com watches their entire marketbase choose meerkat pictures over their fairly lousy quote comparison site, they pretty much had to take this route to drag them back again.
- Didn't Sergei say it was thanks for going to the right website?
- The latest twist is that Maurice (Aleksandr's opposite number at comparethemarket) hates the meerkat toys and want them stopped.
- Retired Badass:
- Maiya the Meerkovia schoolteacher used to be the meerkat equivalent of the Black Widow.
- Ridiculously Cute Meerkats
- Seldom Seen Species: Seriously, how often did you see meerkats before this?
- Well, there was Timon from The Lion King.
- And meerkats became popular long before CTM when they were featured in wildlife documentaries; their social habits and quirks made them an instant hit. Lots of shops sell tacky resin models of anthropomorphised meerkats which appeared before CTM and are independent of association with it. The producers were just going with a craze for the creatures.
- Shown Their Work: Aleksandr's ancestors came from the Kalahari desert, which is one of the areas meerkats naturally live in.
- Similar Squad: Recent adverts have revealed that Comparethemarket.com is run by a burgandy-dressing-gown-wearing loon called Maurice and his put-upon sidekick Spencer.
- Skyward Scream: Sergei's great-grandfather screams when he believes Aleksandr's great-grandfather has been killed in battle.
- Stylistic Suck: Sergei's Caravan Club page, a masterpiece of multi-coloured Comic Sans.
- Soviet Superscience: Sergei is a former Cosmonaut, one of the first meerkats to walk on the Moon, was head of the Soviet Space Program during the 80's and even designed the Mir(kat) space-station.
- Tastes Like Purple: The tie-in book mentions that Sergei was fired from the Russian space programme, but still has a mug with a picture of the Mir space station on it. "That is why his tea tastes of sadness".
- Tempting Fate: During the "Journey Of Courageousness" advert.
"Ours is a simples lives, what could possibles go wrong?" cut to sand storm
- Theme Initials: In the book, Sergei's ancestors are named as Seri ("Journey of Courageousness"), Serge ("Battle of Fearlessness") and Stanislav ("Streets of Ambitiousness"). Aleksandr's father was Anton, but his other ancestors have different initials.
- Think of the Children!: One advert implores you to go to "compare the market.com" because all the extra traffic is crashing the meerkat's elementary school's server.
- Uncle Penny Bags: Aleksandr is presented as an example of this trope
- What Were They Selling Again?: The advertisements are far more recognisable than the website they advertise.
- Zany Scheme: If you go back to the original premise, the entire campaign — which now apparently includes monitoring a rival website's traffic in order to provide its customers with free toys! — is essentially one massive zany scheme to avoid having to upgrade a server.