It amuses me that, despite all the anti-Russian rhetoric in the British press, two of the most effective and popular viral advertising campaigns at the moment draw heavily on Russian culture – to the extent that they’re populated with fake Russians.
ComparetheMeerkat.com, a marketing campaign for British insurance comparison website comparethemarket.com has been spectacularly successful on British TV. Starring Aleksander Orlov, an aristocratic Russian meerkat who is annoyed at the way ‘comparethemarket’ are stealing business from his family’s meerkat comparison site.
So popular has Aleksander Orlov become in Britain that his catchphrase (‘seemples’) is commonly used across the country (I’m embarrassed to say that even use it myself sometimes!), he has his own Wikipedia page, and his own bestselling book.
The latest entrant into the fake Russian advertising game is DirecTV, whose frankly bizarre ads mix aspects of fake Russophilia, LOLcats language (‘Opulence! I has it!’) and, to add the icing to the cake, teeny tiny miniature lap giraffes (adult size 76cm).
Somehow I don’t think mini giraffes (which for some reason remind me of the bonsai kitten craze of a few years ago) are going to take off in quite the same way as Meerkat Mania. All the same, sometimes, I wonder what happened to this country of mine that used to rule the world!