Confused.com’s new CMO drops James Corden from ads and restructures marketing team

Confused.com’s chief marketing officer has launched his first ad campaign since joining the brand, axing the flamboyant frontman James Corden who was “distracting” from the brand’s message.

Sam Day arrived at the price comparison site from the RAC in January, replacing Paul Troy who had overseen the launch of the Corden-backed ‘Drivers Win’ campaign. Speaking to The Drum before his exit, Troy claimed that the Corden ads had been among the best performing in the company’s history and underpinned a turnaround in sales.

However, on joining the business Day conducted lengthy consumer research on the perception of the campaign and found that while there was great “entertainment” value, brand recall was low.

“People weren’t talking about Confused.com or the link to [driver insurance]. It wasn’t about price comparison, it was about James Corden,” he recently told The Drum.

“So, top marks for entertainment, but we needed to tweak it to get people thinking about the brand. The brand was not standing out.”

His approach was an evolution, not a revolution, of the creative. That meant retaining the services of Karmarama, the ad agency hired by Troy. “So often, you see a new CMO go in a different direction. But I could see we had great ingredients, I didn’t want to throw the good stuff out. It was just tweaking and changing.”

The new campaign welcomes a new frontman in Irish actor and Sons of Anarchy star, Timothy Murphy, and strapline of ‘Don’t be confused. Be confused.com.’

In the Corden-era, TV was the “hero medium” and ate up the bulk of the budget. However, Day said that another change he’s brought is a more “balanced” approach of planning, with this campaign set to run across radio, social media, and out of home advertising from today (17 August).

“I’m different in that I’m very much about balancing the media. Yes, TV is important for the category and the reach we need but we’re going to have more radio, social and OOH, press with this campaign. Previously TV was heavy as a hero media; this campaign is more integrated.”

Day hasn’t only shaken up the creative output for the company. His arrival has also marked a significant shift in its internal set-up with the marketer merging its performance and branding teams for the first time.

“I don’t want them just to worry about the KPIs for their department but think about every other bit [of the customer journey] and take an interest in what’s happening in the performance or the brand team. It wasn’t about creating big roles or changing but integrating them into one big customer team.”

Part of this development within the marketing function has also seen Day push his team to work more directly with Google and Facebook, rather than relying solely on its media agency PHD.

“We’re working more direct with Google and Facebook. That is something I’ve brought in – the first thing I did was set up meetings with contacts at Google and Facebook.”

This will be the first campaign where this direct relationship has come into play, with the two platforms both advising – based on the same consumer research its other ad agencies had – on how best to use their assets.

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