Compare the Market v iSelect – The budgie smugglers are on - Showtime Digital

Compare the Market v iSelect – The budgie smugglers are on

21 April 2016 Read 2587 times

Last Sunday we saw the new advertising from iSelect feature a new campaign without Jason Geary. We questioned how long this would take given the environment.

iSelect’s chief executive Scott Wilson said, "Last year we spent $5 million advertising our energy business and our health sales went up".

So it appears at least part of the change in marketing is in response to the market’s tunnel vision of the comparison site.

Here at Showtime we were always curious about the lack of digital optimisation the company placed on their other services.


iSelect share price May 2015 to March 2016


Being a publically listed company hasn’t been kind to iSelect. There’s a nervousness any company feels when they’re subject to expectant shareholders. Where consumers feel this nervousness is when they’re half way through the website and the iSelect telemarketers are already calling you. We’re assuming this is something they want to work on.


iSelect Health Insurance


With only one or two categories working for iSelect they need as many people to start the process as possible and this is why their website entry, or the call to action (CTA) form is so simple.

The other point to mention is, Compare the Market (CTM), their direct competitor, has openly informed the media they’re gunning for iSelect’s business. Several of the iSelect heads including the ex CEO Matt McCann went across to Compare the Market after their no compete clause expired.

In a previous post we analysed how similar both websites looked from a user perspective and quite comically, they were remarkably similar, especially their CTA buttons. If the word ‘Select’ wasn’t in the first field and we changed the colours around you wouldn’t pick which CTA represented which company.


Compare the Market Health Insurance Form

iSelect Health Insurance Form


We’ve been a little confused with CTM and their recent change in marketing. The move from Meerkats to Millennial may have the market scratching their head (thankfully he’s not scratching his beard). But with iSelect’s new positioning the battle ground is starting to take shape. With CTM having first dibs on their market they wisely chose a younger audience, a tech savvy age group comfortable with everything online.


iSelect YouTube ad


Leo Burnett is iSelect’s Ad Agency and in contrast to CTM, iSelect’s new face (or body) is clearly pitched at the older audience. It follows on from Jason Geary’s inner dork; please don’t take us too seriously, feel.

For our mind it’s a little creepy but with only a pair of budgie smugglers on is iSelect saying it has nothing to hide...commission disclosure anyone?

The commercial also mentions referring a friend and if the marketing works and the consumer does pick a second service or refers a friend, without the need to whip the call centre into a frenzy, it might time. But the call centre is going to have to ease up.


iSelect new homepage


This is now their new homepage and all their pages feature the new marketing.


iSelect health insurance landing page


...and this is their new landing page today (Tuesday 19th April 2106) ...with no Jason Geary.

iSelect’s new website

What the homepage does say in the banner at the top of the page is to check out their new website.


iSelect new homepage top banner


So let’s check it out.


iSelect new website


OK, what can we make of it?

The hero image hasn’t been placed in yet, if there’s going to be one at all, but that’s not the most interesting aspect of the page. Now it’s early days but from what we can see they’ve placed every service on the one page; in fact everyone enters through this one dropdown box. This is in response to iSelect’s comment on being a one trick pony.


iSelect new website service selector


Rather than having different pages for different services this one dropdown box tells everyone there are other services available to them and it’ll probably save them millions of dollars with Leo Burnett. It will be interesting to see if, over time, the call centre call-backs ease off because of these changes.

The other point to make is you’ll notice the blog content and the orange area below this section outlines their other services. Is this to build increased organic rank to the homepage?

Commission Disclosure

The other interesting development though is the transparency CTM has given to the market with regards to disclosure of commissions. Transparency has been a long standing debate by the regulators in the industry and iSelect has ignored the argument. Bupa wants transparency and they’ve been critical of iSelect’s stance on the issue. CTM, as you’d expect, has obliged them. Recently Bupa’s profitability over the iSelect platform has diminished considerably, gee, I wonder if that’s connected in anyway?

In contrast does a guy in his bathers imply iSelect has nothing to hide?

Why is this move by iSelect important? Well there’s probably a question mark on whether the consumer really cares about commissions and that’s what iSelect is counting on. Time will tell if CTM’s younger audience even choose them because of their transparency? But it’s important CTM has played this card because it’s an argument which won’t go away. It’s at least a point of difference, but at this stage it’s one the consumer doesn’t know about until they’re within CTM’s on-boarding process. It will be interesting to see how long it takes, if at all, for them to place this USP proudly on their landing pages.

If you look on both health insurance pages they share a total of 7 insurers, Bupa not being one of them.


iSelect health insurers
iSelect health insurers


Compare the Market health insurers
Compare the Market health insurers


What’s the deal with Budgie Smugglers?

To this point CTM’s marketing could be criticised for being a bit bland. The Meerkat hasn’t worked in Australia but they also don’t want to jeopardise their licencing agreement. More recently the move from Meerkat to Millennial was a bit ho-hum. But maybe that’s a wise move. CTM don’t want to reach too far for something they may not grasp and lose their existing stronghold in the process. There’s more at foot here.


Compare the Market


In stark contrast to CTM’s toe in the water approach iSelect have literally thrown the budgie smugglers on and dived into the deep end claiming their end of the pool. iSelect may be telling us they have nothing to hide but they certainly have more up their sleeve.

But if they venture up the other end of the pool they’re going to have a fight on their hands.

Card played...I think it’s CTM’s move.

Stay tuned.

Steve Palmer

Steve Palmer is the Joint Founder and CEO of Showtime Digital. Steve has been in B2B sales since 1997 but influencing people and behavioural science has been a long-term passion.

The magic he brings to his clients is in knowing how to engage their audience. His goal is to help businesses understand the deeper reasons of why consumers convert online with them.