Budget Direct takes new marketing direction with epic thriller introducing detective Sarge

Budget Direct has revealed a radical new marketing direction, kicked off with an epic two-and-a-half minute ad airing on primetime Sunday night television.

Award winning British director Daniel Kleinman shot the ad which also marks the final work for ad agency 303MullenLowe by outgoing executive creative director Richard Morgan.

Along with Budget Direct’s chief marketing officer Jonathan Kerr, Morgan was the architect of Budget Direct’s successful series of Captain Risky ads.

The new campaign – featuring hard-bitten detective “Sarge” investigating a series of unworldly goings-on – is aimed at making consumers consider the real mystery of why they do not take action when it comes to the price of their insurance renewal.

However, Kerr was coy when Mumbrella asked him whether the change signals the end of Captain Risky. He said: “I’m not sure. He might be. Clearly we’re moving on with the story, and this is the next chapter in the story.”

Captain Risky – an uninsurable stunt rider – has been the face of Budget Direct for nearly four years. Prior to that, Budget Direct briefly experimented with animated alien couple Zeek and Zia.

Zeek and Zia were in turn the successors to long-running open-to-interpretation “Boojay Boojay” couple Michael and Michelle

Kerr told Mumbrella that he had not initially intended the longer version of the ad to air on television. But after seeing the version created for cinema, he felt it deserved to be seen on TV too, so found the budget. He said: “When I saw it, I said it served to go on TV. I believe in story telling. We’ve given it a red hot go.”

Kerr: Coy about Captain Risky’s future

A 60 second version of the ad – shot across Sydney in the style of a crime thriller – also started its run over the weekend.

Morgan said: “It’s been a privilege working with such a talented team and courageous brand on a new campaign of this scale. Over four years Captain Risky became a
household name and helped Budget Direct to become Australia’s fastest growing car and home insurer.

“It’s been a pleasure to create the new campaign that truly reflects Budget Direct’s ambitions to lift the bar once again.”

Morgan: A pleasure to work with a courageous brand

Kerr added: “We set out to make Budget Direct’s new marketing campaign just as innovative, engaging and unique as our ability to offer award-winning insurance for less. Now that we’ve got Sarge on the case, we hope Australians enjoy the ads and in turn consider our message even more.”

Kleinman said: “I feel that ‘Sarge and Jac’ are characters that we’ll enjoy watching and following now and in the future as the sensible question they have for Australia is posed in a such an entertaining way.”

303MullenLowe CEO Nick Cleaver said: “This is a campaign that will lead the category in terms of being highly entertaining and effective. It’s not only compelling
viewing it vividly highlights the benefit of taking out a policy with Budget Direct.”

The hours before launch saw a series of six second teasers running across social media. The wider ad campaign will run across all major media.

Client – Budget Direct
Chief Marketing Officer – Jonathan Kerr
General Manager – Brand & Media Marketing: Warren Marsh
Marketing Manager – New Customer Acquisition: Catherine Harty
Budget Direct’s Remarkable In-House Marketing & Digital Team
Agency – 303 MullenLowe
Executive Creative Director – Richard Morgan
Creative Director – Adam Whitehead
Senior Copywriters – Mike Burdick / Sean Larkin
Agency Producer – Sean Ascroft
Client Services Director – Tony Dunseath / Joanna Gray
Senior Business Director – Meredith Raskopf
Business Director – Olivia Maguire
Head of Strategy – Jon McKie
Production Company – Goodoil Films / Rattling Stick
Director – Daniel Kleinman
Executive Producers – Sam Long / Johnnie Frankel
Producer – Andrew McLean
DOP – Ginny Loane
Editors – Mark Burnett @The Editors
Editorial Assistant – Lily Davis
Post Production – alt.vfx
VFX Supervisor – Jay Hawkins
VFX Producer – Celeste Fairlie
Music and Sound Company:  Sonar Music
Music Composer – Matteo Zingales
Executive Producer – Sophie Haydon
Sound Designer – Timothy Bridge
Audio Director – Wes Chew
Foley – Longstocking Studios
Stills Photographer – LOUIS & CO, Mat Baker
Stills Digi Op – Carl Baker


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