Compare the Market appoints Christopher Catchpoole as CMO, and notes the meerkats aren’t going anywhere

Christopher Catchpoole has been appointed as chief marketing officer of Compare the Market, officially taking over the role following the departure of Jenny Williams in June last year.

Catchpoole was previously the general manager of digital for the financial comparison business, and stepped up as acting CMO following Williams’ departure.

Catchpoole was initially the general manager of digital at Compare the Market

Speaking to Mumbrella, Catchpoole said that he could not be happier taking on such a loved brand.

“I don’t think that you could not be happy inheriting a brand with such heritage, such love and such affinity and with such a fanatical following as well,” Catchpoole said.

“A big part of our team and certainly myself believe that we’re only really scratching the surface in terms of what we can do with our brand, with our characters and with our position in general in market. So, it’s a really exciting time.

Williams stepped into the CMO role in January 2018. When Williams launched her first campaign for Compare the Market in September 2018, she told Mumbrella her aim for the business was to create a better association between the brand’s meerkat ambassadors, Aleksandr Orlov and Sergei, and what Compare the Market actually does.

“Whilst the meerkats are well recognised, people aren’t as aware of what Compare the Market actually do and to some extent they are almost seen as two seperate things,” Williams said at the time.

“The goal is to embrace the brand much more and look at how those two worlds come together, so this is the first step towards creating that intersection.”

Speaking about his goals for the business, Catchpoole said they are largely the same, yet admitted that the anticipation around Aleksandr and Sergei’s latest adventure can overshadow the brand’s message.

“The goals that we have now are no different to the goals that we’ve always had, which is to win and to win on behalf of consumers, but also to win market share away from our competitors,” Catchpoole said.

“We’re blessed in that we have these wonderful characters in Aleksandr and Sergei, who, you know, are so loved and so hotly anticipated every time we release a new campaign, but sometimes they do overshadow the message.

“So there’s always going to be an opportunity there for us to improve linkage and relevance, and we intend to do that, but I wouldn’t say that the goals are different. The goals are still the same. We just need to win as a business.”

Despite the challenge, Catchpoole said there will be plenty more of Aleksandr and Sergei to come in the future.

“We think our meerkats have so much depth in character that that freshness is something that we create every time we run with a new ad. I don’t think they’re stale by any means, but certainly we’d be crazy to go away from them,” Catchpoole told Mumbrella.

“They’re such an asset and such a benefit. I think our competitors would really envy having that kind of profile behind a couple of characters or figures associated with their brand.”

Catchpoole hopes the brand remains on its upward trajectory over the next 12 months, and to make inroads with his team on the strength of the brand.

His attitude on the company’s current agency roster, including creative agency VCCP which launched the brand into the Australian market in 2013, is “Why mess with a winning formula?”

During his time as acting CMO, Catchpoole oversaw the final two instalments of a three-part campaign, the last of which launched this week. The campaign started out with Aleksandr and Sergei being chased into the woods by a pest exterminator who mistook them for possums. The second ad saw the pair venture through the wilderness, facing several predators, before being rescued by Dame Edna Everage in the third.


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