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Confused.com: Doing exactly what it says on the tin

Each month, The Adquirer provides insight into the creative and media strategies of industry-leading advertisers in a particular sector. Estimated cost per web visit results are provided by our data scientists, utilising sources including Hitwise, Nielsen and BARB.

This month, we look at four advertisers in the congested comparison site market that have a similar target audience of 55+ year olds, living the suburban life and sitting down to Corrie and Emmerdale in the evenings. The challenge with this industry is proving who stands out with the clearest message and best rewards for using them over the others. You will also see that a lot of faith goes into brand recognition and the viewer already knowing who the advertiser is and understanding exactly what they do.

Here, we explore the similarities and differences in their media and creative strategies, and the different calls to action at play.

The Confused.com ad sums up the name perfectly by being… confusing. Confused utilise 20 second ads more than any other iteration, with that length seeing 44% of all impacts in this campaign. This becomes extremely significant once we explore the contents…

The 20 second version of the ad consists of actor, comedian and TV host James Corden driving to Las Vegas with a friend when their engine blows up. The ad cuts to them being back on the road, driving back from Vegas with a new muscle car engine sticking out of the bonnet and the car literally full of cash with the two gentlemen screaming ‘Vegaaaasssss’ like teenagers on their first holiday. This unfortunately makes no sense whatsoever, as it is actually extracted and snipped from the longest version of the ad at 60 seconds, which goes some way in actually explaining the situation. In short, they set off with a set amount of money, and their car repeatedly breaks down, whittling down their kitty. The final engine repair is with their final few notes of cash. But Vegas saves the day and they win big after only just managing to get there.

How this translates to saving money on car insurance is unclear, until the voiceover emerges after 15 seconds with the offer that they will “beat any renewal quote, guaranteed, or give you the difference plus £20”, with the logo URL only appearing for the last 2 seconds of the ad. But it doesn’t actually mention car or home insurance, assuming the rest is known by the viewer in much the same way Moneysupermarket does.

As Brittaney Kiefer from Campaign said, “the problem might be that all of Confused.com’s Corden ads blur together into one indistinguishable irritation.” Does it therefore come as a surprise how this reflects on their web visit data from Hitwise? With a media budget of over £50m – dwarfing that of the other advertisers in this edition of the Adquirer – Confused achieves the lowest number of average web visits compared with the other three advertisers. This can be down to the fact that Confused only operates in motor and home insurance, meaning there are fewer scenarios where one might need their services. However, with car insurance being the most common search term used to find comparison sites according to Hitwise, perhaps Confused should be closer to their peers in respect to web visits with the level of spend that they are deploying.

Since we began the analysis on this campaign, Confused have taken action and replaced James Corden with Westworld actor Timothy Murphy, as he takes the keys to their ‘iconic’ Mercedes and drives through all the confusion that we now face as a society, finally stating: “Don’t be confused, be Confused.com”. This puts a lot of trust in their brand equity and our memories, as the ad does not mention what they actually do for their customers.