Captain Risky here to stay as Budget Direct aims to show why it is ‘better’ than competitors

Budget Direct ditched its aliens campaign in favour of  its new Captain Risky character as it aims to communicate why it is “better” than its competitors, its director of marketing and digital Jonathan Kerr told Mumbrella.

The insurer pitched its creative account in June last year with Budget Direct saying at the time it was looking to expand upon the success of the aliens Zeek and Zia, with 303Lowe appointed last August.

“The aliens campaign delivered us a hugely successful year of sales growth,” Kerr said. “We felt that though it delivered a great deal of sales growth for us we didn’t feel it communicated why Budget Direct is better and different.”

The Aliens campaign was introduced in September 2012 to replace the long running campaign featuring the French accented Michelle and her older companion Michael, which had the famous “Boojay Boojay” jingle carried over into the alien execution.

“We absolutely set the bar higher, the goal higher. We said we believe that if more Australians understand why we’re better and different and how we’re able to offer such great products and prices we will grow faster,” he said.

“The aliens did a great job for us and they inspired us to go for bigger and better.

“The reality is we are focused on what the customers think, that’s the judge and jury in what we’re doing in marketing,” Kerr added.

303Lowe head of planning Jon Mckie added: “While the aliens has been successful in terms of cut-through, this campaign has an explanation of that proposition which is at the heart of the ad.”

The Captain Risky campaign aims to highlight how Budget Direct is different to its competitors and aims to stand out amongst other insurance-related marketing, Kerr said.

“You have to earn your engagement with the public and Budget Direct cannot rely on regurgitated old messaging,” he said.

“We have to earn our engagement with the public and if we do a good job at that they’ll actually take on board what makes us different.”

303Lowe’s Mckie added: “There’s an old adage – it’s not the number of spots you run but the impression you make that counts. Budget Direct would be out-spent by competitors with more spots so we need to create an impression with the budget we’ve got.”

The campaign, currently in market, features a 90-second cinema ad along with 60-second and 30-second executions. All are complemented by the Budget Direct website along with a number of social media and online elements used to build the Captain Risky character, including a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a personal website.

On how the social media elements of the campaign will be used to promote the insurer Kerr said: “When you set yourself up for a campaign like this, the way you work with your agency is to ‘ride the wave’ as I call it.

“You have your pillars, you put your pillars in place and then you have a significant connection with your team and the agency to magnify the elements the public are enjoying and want more of and that’s how we approach it.”

“It researched very strongly that people associated and understood the character immediately with the American accent,” Kerr added.

303Lowe’s Mckie added: “As the campaign evolves you’ll see more of a backstory to his character and his relationship to Australia.”

On plans for future use of Captain Risky, Kerr said audiences should expect to see more of him over the coming months.

“It’s definitely a campaign not an advert. We feel that the core proposition that he represents goes across our product lines,” he said.

When quizzed on the decision to create an American character as opposed to an Australian character, Kerr said the idea of a stuntman felt “quintessentially” American.

“When the daredevil character came up as the lead element immediately it felt it was quintessentially American as a character, a genre,” he said.

“We also love the optimism of Americans in the way they think they can always make it bigger, more stupendous. When he talks, the way he talks, he always sounds American and we felt it was far more believable.

“It researched very strongly that people associated and understood the character immediately with the American accent,” he added.

On other concerns the campaign could lead to children attempting to imitate the stunts of Captain Risky, Kerr was confident the ad is clearly comedy and a parody and Captain Risky is intended as someone not to be imitated.

“We think it’s very clearly comedic, stupendous, ridiculous, parody fun,” he said. “We’re quite comfortable that people understand him as kind of a metaphor and not someone to be imitated.”

Miranda Ward


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