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How to create an influential anthropomorphic mascot: Literary musings on marketing, make-believe, and meerkats

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Not long ago, Compare the Market, a UK-based online aggregator of car insurance quotes, had little distinctive presence in the marketplace. Yet the company's fortunes have been radically transformed since the launch in early 2009 of its award-winning marketing campaign, ‘Compare the Meerkat’, fronted by the much-loved anthropomorphic mascot, Aleksandr Orlov. This paper utilises literary insights to explain the peculiar piquancy of this popular anthropomorphic marketing campaign. To establish its consumer appeal, we conduct a literary exploration of the rich, textured experience of Aleksandr Orlov's imaginary world. In doing so, we postulate that the triumph of the campaign lies in its, albeit inadvertent, amalgamation of three literary genres: Russian literature, comedy literature, and adventure literature.

Keywords: advertising; anthropomorphism; branding; literary theory; mascots

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Liverpool, UK

Publication date: 2013-01-01

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