iSelect grows up

iSelect grows up
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It is possible to produce top-notch ads, even ones filmed offshore, on the “smell of an oily rag” if a tight relationship exists between client and agency, according to iSelect’s new marketing head.

Five time zones were travelled and eight flights were caught in the 12 days it took to shoot the price comparison website’s new ad. The total production cost? Less than $300,000.

“This was produced on the smell of an oily rag and yet the results clearly showed it to be in excess of what you would have thought we spent,” Geraldine Davys, iSelect marketing director, told B&T.

The campaign, created by Melbourne’s AJF Partnership, announces the brand’s new partnership with Qantas which will see iSelect customers earn Qantas Frequent Flyer Points on their health insurance purchase.

It is the first spot iSelect has released since Davys was appointed to the brand’s top marketing gig in November last year, as revealed by B&T.

“The reality is that everyone had to chip in. As a client I was out looking at props, putting on makeup…that is how we were able to turn it around so cheaply and I don’t think we compromised on quality at all.”

Andrew Fabbro, founding partner and business director AJF Partnership, said the ad’s “simple clever idea” meant a large crew was not necessary and travelling AJF staff were given multiple roles.

“We travelled with an editor as well so if anything went wrong we could fix it up along the way,” Fabbro added.

Campaign Facts

  • Credits: Creative development and production: AJF Partnerhip, and also included consultation with Etcom to ensure ethical and authentic communications around cultural sensitivities
  • Campaign elements: A mix of offline (TVCs, radio) and online (Youtube pre-roll) – following a soft launch through outdoor advertising.
  • Campaign start date: Sunday, 05 January 2013
  • People-power:
    • Four local translators and language coach
    • One sound technician
    • Three co-directors (also acted as copywriter, executive producer, art director)
    • One lead actor
    • One make-up and wardrobe
    • One marketing director
    • One editor
    • One DOP camera man
  • Days: 12 days shooting abroad
  • Flights: Eight flights to get to all locations for filming
  • Location scouting hours: 168 hours
  • Pre-production hours: 120
  • Average hours of sleep per night: 3-4
  • Average length of stay in each location: 48 hours
  • Fried insects eaten: One (apparently it tasted like chicken)
  • Time zones travelled: Five

A tight client/agency relationship is necessary, but Davys also believes the Australian market needs to “be more lateral in terms of the way we are currently producing”.

The ad maintains iSelect’s light-heartedness with the familiar fun-loving Mr iSelect character. But the spot is a turning point for the brand – which was listed last year – as it matures.

The link with Qantas Frequent Flyer is designed to “invigorate” the brand and give its position as a trusted source of information and advice a boost.

“It is about really finding that balance between maintaining that sense of fun while also really trying to gain that level of authority as experts in health insurance, experts in shopping smart and money management. That is really an ongoing challenge for the brand,” Davys said.

iSelect is now working with a branding agency, Brand Hook, to help it step out of its “pimply teenage stage” and into young adulthood.

“How do you evolve through the personification of your brand, which at the moment is Mr iSelect. We need to think through exactly what that means and what that ultimately means for the business.”

The Mr iSelect character was created by AJF Parntership which started working with the brand in January 2010.

Before Mr iSelect was the chirpy female character who told viewers they would be “puffing muffins”, "biffing bonkers", "tossing possums” or “hurling hobbits” to buy insurance anywhere else (below).

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