Simples: Meerkats maul competition in UK TV advertising

Joseph O'Halloran | 30-12-2012

CompareTheMarketís meerkats have clawed their way into the affections of the UK public and made the company's ads the country's most popular according to research by Nielsen.

Indeed the 2012 survey - using over 1.25 million survey results from viewers watching evening TV in the UK - saw the the price comparison site recapture top spot that a year earlier had been grabbed by the Aldi supermarket with its gin-loving pensioner. CompareTheMarket is the only advertiser to appear in the annual top 10 creative TV spots in each of the past three years, while retailer John Lewis is the only one to appear twice.

Offering a clear insight as to what tugs the heartstrings and subsequently pulls the pursestrings of the great British buying pubic, Nielsen revealed that animals feature in four of 2012ís top 10 ads, compared with just two in both 2010 and 2011. Two more ads feature them prominently.

More pointedly, and in what may come as a relief in terms of budget planning, just one of the top 10 ads this year featured a celebrity, compared with two in 2011 and four in 2010.

Commented Darren Moore, VP for advertising effectiveness at Nielsen: ďAnimals have replaced celebrities as the new stars of many of the nation's favourite TV ads in 2012, and we expect their effectiveness as brand icons and storytellers to continue as a theme next year. Advertisers are triggering the best response by tapping into deeper human connections, such as with animals or through powerful emotions... Even humour has had less of an impact this year with only four of the 10 most-liked ads using this theme to successfully engage viewers, compared to nine last year.Ē

Moore also pointed out that contrary to expectation, not a single Olympic or sport-related ad featured among the most liked in what has been the most successful year in the history of British sport. "Advertisers may need to work harder to find out why sports ads are not connecting as well with a nation that loves its sport if their ads are to appear on the winnersí podium in 2013,Ē he suggested.