Modern Marketing Brand Safety

Compare the Market withdraws meerkat ads from TV news breaks after Ukraine invasion

By John Glenday | Reporter

compare the market

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brand safety article

February 28, 2022 | 3 min read

Compare the Market is restricting the appearance of its famous meerkats on TV screens to ensure the ads do not clash with news bulletins reporting on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The long-running ‘Compare the Meerkat’ campaign has become an advertising staple, with Aleksandr Orlov – a Russian emigre meerkat living in London – appearing on TV ad breaks since his creation by VCCP in 2009.

The spoof price comparison portal names Aleksandr as its chief exec and founder, with the family team including head of IT Sergei, ‘musickat’ Vassily and meerpup Oleg.

Compare the Market

Aleksandr Orlov – a Russian emigre meerkat living in London – has been Compare the Market’s mascot since 2009

Heightened concern around the invasion has already brought about a clampdown from the government on oligarchs who have made Britain their home, heaping pressure on the brand to retire its mascots from public view.

Acknowledging the need to be “sensitive,” Compare the Market has admitted that it would be inappropriate to continue broadcast during news bulletins. It initially refused to suspend the campaign outright but eventually capitulated to concerns later on Monday 28 February.

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A spokesperson explained to The Telegraph: “The meerkats are fictional characters and not associated with Russia and the current situation. But we’re looking at our marketing to make sure we’re being sensitive and it doesn’t show up in inappropriate places.”

Global outrage at Russian military action has seen RT and Sputnik banned from the EU, with RT’s UK license currently undergoing a review.

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