Comparethemarket/Barlow Link Album Launch & Corrie Sponsorship Anniversary

In one of the more unlikely alliances of the year, the Comparethemarket meerkats have partnered with Gary Barlow to celebrate the insurer’s one year anniversary of its Coronation Street sponsorship and to promote the Take That front man’s new album release.


Musician and X Factor judge Barlow duets with chief meerkat Aleksandr Orlov to mark the soap sponsorship milestone throughout an episodic, multi-platform campaign.


The alliance kicked off on 18 November when the insurer rolled out a webfilm ‘invite’ spot – hosted on its Coronation Street site, brand homepage and YouTube channel – in which Orlov asks Barlow to perform at the sponsor’s Corrie celebration party.



This was followed by a 90-second TV ad, aired on ITV during a Coronation Street ad break, in which  Barlow appears on the soap’s famous cobbled street and performs a special version of his new single ‘Let Me Go’ with the meerkats acting as his backing band.



An extended version of the commercial was also posted on the brand’s campaign website – along with website copy reading:


‘Why settle for 90 seconds of Mr Gary when you can have more? Watch extend version of Mr Gary’s fantastical performance on the cobbles. It extra special treat for crazy super fans. Sergei already watch it 56 times.’



A link on the campaign website also drives consumers to Universal’s music download page where fans can purchase Barlow’s new solo album ‘Since I Saw You Last’.


A further stage of the partnership sees an online and social ‘chat’ between Barlow, Orlov and fans.


The tripartite alliance between TV show, sponsor and musician was developed by Barlow’s record producers Polydor Records and ITV, while the campaign creative was by the sponsor’s agency VCCP.


The media planning and buying for the campaign was by ZenithOptimedia.


The VCCP creative team consisted of Matt Hynds and Liam Wilson, the creative directors on the business were Darren Bailes and Matt Lloyd, while Darren Walsh directed the spot through Passion Pictures.


‘The partnership with ITV’s Coronation Street is one which has thrived and we really wanted to deliver something special to the fans to celebrate our anniversary,’ explains Comparethemarket.com marketing director Mark Vile.


‘It was fantastic for us to have Gary Barlow on board and as a self-confessed fan of both the meerkats and Coronation Street, it was the perfect fit. We look forward to many more years celebrating with The Street in the future.’


‘Three icons of British culture together in one place, what’s not to love?!’ adds Polydor Records commercial director Chris Elrin.




As the music industry seeks new financial models, 2013 has been the year of the innovative album launch.


From Samsung sponsoring Jay-Z’s latest album – ‘Magna Carter Holy Grail’ – with exclusive Galaxy content giveaway  and an integrated promotional push (see case study), to Pear Jam’s’Lightning Bolt’ album launch partnership with MLB World Series broadcaster Fox Sport (see case study) .


Now this Gary Barlow initiative introduces a triple-play tactic – combining musician, brand and sponsored property (as well as a record company, a broadcaster and, of course, the ad agency).


It might appear a fairly complex set of relationships, but combining the soaps mass market reach and Barlow’s mainstream target certainly makes some sense.


As does the synergy between Barlow’s strong Cheshire/Lancashire roots and the show’s Manchester setting.













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