Social Media for Kids #4 – Compare the Meerkat

This blog is part of our Social Done Right series where we bring to you some outstanding social media campaigns and our insights into its success!

So far in social media for kids we have looked at brands that cater directly to kids, this we take a look at a brand where kids are not at all the target group, atleast not directly. 🙂

When I first came across Compare the Meerkat website, I was a bit confused! Obviously this is a campaign targeted towards kids, so why does it have such a formal looking website and why do they keep talking about car insurance?
A little research later I figured the campaign was promoting Compare the Market and found that to be really cute. Putting in some thought into the companies target audience and marketing situation I think that this sort of a campaign which has universal appeal, gave the brand a clear advantage on many fronts.
1.    Marketing Focus
It’s obviously a good thing when your service is relevant and needed by a large number of individuals. From a marketing perspective however, it sort of creates a dilemma. We at DigiWhirl have faced this while working with some clients when their target audience is very vast, it is difficult to bring any focus to the client’s social media activities! This is the case with too. The sheer number of people who would find this company relevant are from all walks of life, different professions, different backgrounds, different age-groups and so on! I think you get my point 🙂
In this scenario a focus on ‘meerkats’ works! ‘Compare the Meerkat’ campaign brings about a marketing focal point around which all companies fun promotions online as well as offline can be made!
2.    Family Brand
When I was younger, companies related to insurance, health, medical, finance would all be irrelevant for me. That is adult stuff, it is ‘parent business’. This is the norm for financial brands from the days of old. Now a days we can see some change in the advertisements where they feature kids in the advertisements thus perking the interest of those little ones who are most often sitting with their parents while watching the TV! This Meerkat campaign immediately appeals to the children of the family and voila – the boring finance brand just became a hit family brand!
Nothing would pique the interest of parents more than when their kid asks them to buy a certain insurance so that he/she can get the free Meerkat toy! Its so kooky that it works!

3.    Animal Appeal
Many brands have been successful with animal campaigns. Greenpeace’s Name the Whale campaign, Hello me hippo and Stripey the Cub campaigns in India are all examples where animal mascots bring about a certain appeal to the campaign and make it go viral. Meerkat campaign builds on this brand appeal.

I can see such a campaign going instantly viral when it is launched, however this campaign is not recent! It was launched way back in 2009 and is still going strong! Some of the aspects which contribute its long term success,

Going all the Way!
The company is going all out with the Meerkats! There are special videos, images and facebook apps to build up Meerkovo – the land of the Meerkats. Mr Meerkat – Aleksandr Orlav – has his own personal twitter and facebook account! He even has his ancient family history and other Meerkat friends who are often as popular as him!

Integration with Product
What I find interesting to analyze in such in-direct marketing campaigns is how it all ties in together. How much or how little is the integration of the campaign and product. In this campaign a lot of inter-mingling is seen. ComparetheMarket – talks about free Meerkat toys with its insurance thus involving its clients into the Meerkat campaign. While the Meerkats simply talk about the difference between, ‘Compare the Market’ and ‘Compare the Meerkat’! Simples! Thus giving a huge push to the Meerkat followers to consider ComparetheMarket as their choice for cheap insurance!
There are also deeper tie-ins where a brand ambassador selection is done on both communties,

Traditional advertisements all portray the Meerkats as brand ambassadors for comparethemarket!

What I found lacking was a 2 way dialogue between the company and fans! Aleksandr doesn’t talk one-to-one with fans!
It is often difficult to maintain and tedious to manage such a brand mascot if there was actual conversations involved. It would need to be in character for all its replies, and still keep the fan excitement going…

Genuine fan comments about not receiving the toy etc.. are barely ever responded to. What I found queer is that the company ‘ComparetheMarket’ has barely any social media presence. Customer support is entirely via email, phone channels. Their social media campaign remains just a promotion channel albeit an engaging one.