Comparethemarket and Moneysupermarket unveil new strategies for growth

Two of the leading players in the price comparison market, and, have upped the ante in the battle for customers by unveiling new marketing initiatives.

/s/u/k/meerkats160.jpg is offering customers the chance to claim a free toy in the image of the characters that appeared in its comparethemeerkat ads.

The site claims the offer – available to customers who buy car, van, home or pet insurance through – is the first “major rewards scheme” offered by anyone in the sector.

The scheme, dubbed Simples Rewards, launches on 4 July. It will be backed by a marketing campaign, which breaks the same day.

Meanwhile, has dropped comedian Omid Djalili from its ads and replaced him with a family looking to the site to save money.

The ad – which sees a dad, buoyed by finding cheaper car insurance, turn into a pro surfer – aims to “amplify the emotional benefit” of using the site in straightened times.

Director of consumer marketing Paul Troy, claims the new approach “will really help us to continue to stand out from the rest of the crowd”.

Moneysupermarket leads the sector in unique users with 3.7 million visitors in May, according to comScore.

It and the others in the fiercely competitive price comparison sector have spent heavily on brand and product marketing starring colourful brand characters to bolster market share. According to Nielsen, the four biggest – Moneysupermarket, GoCompare, and Comparethemarket – spent £247m on advertising in the past three years.

GoCompare was second to Moneysupermarket with 1.2 million unique visitors in May, third on 1.16 million, while attracted 965,000 users, says comScore.