Utter the word "simples" followed by a click of the tongue and a cheeky meerkat dressed in a fetching red silk dressing gown comes to mind.
Utter the word "simples" followed by a click of the tongue and a cheeky meerkat dressed in a fetching red silk dressing gown comes to mind.It's a picture which will spring to the mind of anyone with a TV and the phenomenon which is sweeping across the UK is an idea which was born in Peterborough.
While scrambling around with the help of an advertising agency for a new campaign to advertise an online insurance service, city-based comparethemarket.com came up with the comparethemeerkat.com concept.
And a good concept it was, as the company has revealed its sales are up by more than 100 per cent year on year and its market share is rising.
comparethemarket.com is based at parent company BGL Group's headquarters, in Orton Southgate.
Managing director Mark Vile said: "It was the result of a very creative brain-storming session around the comparethemarket name and how we could make it more memorable.
"It was a short leap from market to meerkat and, while at the early stages the idea of a meerkat comparison site sounded ridiculous, the more it was explored the more we agreed it could work."
Visitors to the entertaining website, launched in January and hosted by head meerkat Aleksandr Orlov, can compare the creatures ranging from ballerina meerkats to poker-playing gamblers, and all in different settings across the world.
It has become so popular, up to 65,000 people visited the site each day in February, with an overall average of 30,000 daily visits.
Aleks launched a Facebook page, which soon became a fan site, and he now has more than 250,000 fans. He also sends regular Twitter updates to several thousand followers.
The comparethemarket team get e-mails on a daily basis from the public and during last month's snowy weather, a number of people sent in pictures of their snowkats.
Mr Vile said: "We're delighted with how people have responded to the meerkat site and Aleksandr, and we hope to keep it going as long as people are still finding it entertaining.
"We'll take a steer from the feedback we get via the social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as regular customer research groups."
Aleksandr Orlov – Founder of Compare the Meerkat - Facebook page.
Aleksandr Orlov on Twitter .