You know what your problem is Moneysupermarket? Your ad’s too British

What’s to dislike in Dare’s latest recasting of its Moneysupermarket.com campaign, starring Prezza? It’s spot on creatively, with a tightly directed script that makes the most of the former deputy prime minister’s touchy truculence and natural gift for hostility. From two jabs on the punchbag we move quickly to that other Prescott signature theme, his two Jags nestling under a tarpaulin, and the point of the ad – car insurance, and how you can cut a better deal with Moneysupermarket.

This is much the best in the series so far. Omid Djalili, the British-born Iranian stand-up comic, excels as the impish critic of our national reluctance to haggle: “You know your trouble? You’re British.” And in bulldog Prezza he has at last found the perfect foil. What an improvement on the leaden counter-weight of one-time Formula One champ Nigel Mansell, nice bloke though he no doubt is.

So, it’s an engaging mainly-for-TV campaign which appears to dispel the myth that digital agencies can’t really handle big brand stuff. Or does it?

If I have a quibble with the Moneysupermarket work, it’s this. Compared with the best work in this field – financial price comparison sites – the campaign fails to create an unforgettable mnemonic out of a difficult-to-remember brand name. Think of meerkats and Comparethemarket (VCCP); and then of that gravitationally challenged Edwardian opera star Gio Compario (GoCompare; ads created by an in-house team that originated at Boase Massimi Pollitt and was also responsible for Sheilas’ Wheels). Both enshrine the brand name. Moneysupermarket and Dare, on the other hand, have created a brilliant platform for Omid Djalili and whichever guest celebrity happens to appear in his 30-second TV show at the time.

I suspect this shows up in the research. A lot of people will identify that funny foreign bloke making jokes about selling insurance. But I wonder how many will remember the brand.

UPDATE 13/1/11: Spookily, Moneysupermarket has just put its ad account up for review. New broom Paul Troy, formerly Barclaycard’s head of advertising, has decided to hold ‘chemistry meetings’ with up to six agencies in early February. My point about digital agencies not cutting the brand mustard may seem a little unfair, given that Dare, one of the most widely respected digital shops, received an infusion of traditional agency talent after its merger with MCBD last November. However, although MCBD actually won the account in 2009, it is Dare management that is now driving the agency.

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