Part of any marketer’s job is to keep up to speed with what the competition is doing, and positioning themselves to respond where necessary. Sometimes this is an unenviable task, as the competitor’s latest advert is brilliant, and captures exactly what you’ve been trying to say about your own brand for years. Sometimes, it’s because that brand receives a huge amount of publicity from their latest ad. Take price comparison websites, for example. Who would want to be the brand manager for any site other than comparethemarket.com?
Back in 2008, comparethemarket.com was running this ad
All price comparison sites were slugging it out over who could offer the best discount, the widest providers, or the most guarantees. But this all changed in January 2009, courtesy of VCCP and Aleksandr Orlov. All of a sudden, comparethemarket.com had a character. Not only that, but it was a distinct character, with that distinct phrase that immediately entered any type of social conversation.
But as a marketer, how would you respond to this character, knowing your ads were still harping on about prices, providers, and guarantees? Well, put simply, the majority tried to mimic the core principles that this ad set in their industry. Let’s have a character. A distinct character, with a recognisable tone, that reminded people of the site URL. Once at the site, the facts will become apparent. The ads are a race to clicks. Mimicking is not new – apparently it’s flattery. But what does this say about your brand? A me-too product? I would say so, in my opinion.
The returns are good for those brands that manage to captivate through strong creative, yet the mimicking continues. Obviously creative alone won’t sell your brand – it has to be well researched and executed – but it’ll go a long way to getting it recognised.