Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Aleksandr Orlov - the world's most popular fictional meerkat

Meerkat. Photo by Itshears

Aleksandr Orlov (RussianАлександр Орлов) is a fictional CGI anthropomorphic Russian meerkat. He is portrayed as being of aristocratic stock, and the founder of www.comparethemeerkat.com. The character is central to an advertising campaign on British commercial television for the comparethemarket.com price comparison website. It launched in January 2009 and centres on his frustration that people keep coming to his website looking for car insurance not meerkats, because 'Market' sounds similar to 'Meerkat' when spoken in a Russian accent. Orlov's catchphrase is 'Simples', pronounced 'Seem-pels'.



Official Compare the Meerkat Jingle Advert by Aleksandr Orlov


"It seem some people still visit this site for cheap car insurance deal, so this time I have make absolute clear difference. Only mongoose could not understand!"


Background

Orlov's voice is provided by Simon Greenall.
The TV campaign, featuring Aleksandr, was created by the VCCP Agency on behalf of BGL Group. The website – which is a real website created by the advertising agency – does indeed allow visitors to compare meerkats, and has had more than 3.6 million hits.
BGL's comparethemarket.com website is now ranked as the 4th most visited insurance website in the UK – up from 16th in January 2008; and overall sales have more than doubled year on year as a result of the TV ‘meerkat campaign’. As of August 2009, Aleksandr had more than 750,000 Facebook fans and 40,000 followers on Twitter, while on photo-sharing site Flickr there is a popular gallery of Aleksandr's family.
The character remains extremely popular and a record company has expressed an interest in releasing a single featuring Aleksandr.
In August 2009 an opinion piece in The Guardian newspaper accused the advert series of racism for mocking eastern European accents, however following a complaint by the author of the article to the Advertising Standards Authority, the ASA stated it had not received any similar complaints.
The TV commercials are directed by Darren Walsh at Passion Pictures.

Official Compare the Meerkat Bloopers starring Aleksandr Orlov


Sergei

Recently another character, Sergei, appeared in his own ad. He is Aleksandr's IT technician and tea-maker. Before working for Aleksandr, he used to be head of the principal design group for the Soviet Space Programme during the 1980s. He designed the Mir(kat) Space Station, and now works with Aleksandr and 'Compare the Meerkat'. Sergei is first seen in the ad "Sergei", and later guests in "Jacuzzi", "Art Class" and all three of the 'Orlov Family Trilogy' advertisements. Sergei had been frequently mentioned on Aleksandr's Twitter and Facebook accounts, one time was prior to being included in an advert, and Aleksandr even started a petition to add the word 'Simples' to the dictionary because Sergei didn't approve of the word in a game of Scrabble.

Official Compare the Meerkat Sergei Advert

"To handle new website features and all the mongooses who still clog up my website looking for comparethemarket.com, I have launch new high technology computer server. To celebrate I have create brand new TV advertisement featuring Sergei from IT!"

Official Compare the Meerkat Sergei Bloopers

"Recently I make television advertisement featuring Sergei from comparethemeerkat.com IT department. He is not natural in front of camera and is often make mongoose-brained mistakes. I have collect his best bloops (and one or two of mine own) to make special outtakes tape guaranteed for laughs. Enjoy your pleasure!"

Official Jacuzzi Advert

"I have very stressful times telling many mongoose heads that I cannot find them cheap car insurance, I can only compare meerkats!
So everynight I am force to have soothing Jacuzzi bath. Then one night when I was playing with floating boat I have brain waves, why not make advertisement from comfort of own bubbles? So I did."

Life and family

Aleksandr's fictional family is described as having lived in Moscow for many generations. His "greatest grandfather", Mikhail, fought in the Meerkat–Mongoose war of 1728, and his grandparents survived the "Furry Terror" of 1921. Aleksandr's father Papa Anton participates in boxing.
A series of advertisements have shown Aleksandr act out his ancestors' journeys. The first (The Journey of Courageousness) shows him acting as an ancestor of Aleksandr, living in the Kalahari, dressed in Arab robes, until a drought causes a famine and forces him to leave; he is shown walking across a sand dune desert (perhaps the Namib Desert) to a coast, where he makes or finds a boat, and sails away in it, and ends up on a cold coast of Russia.

Official Trailer for 'The Journey of Courageousness'

"Here is teaser for upcoming movie masterpiece The Journey of Courageousness, written by and acted by and produced by Holly Woods newcomer Aleksandr Orlov. As you will hear, making trailer was almost as difficult as make entire movie (you just cannot find the voiceover talent these days) but lucky I have still manage to create fantastic trailer!"

 
Official comparethemeerkat.com Movie - 'The Journey of Courageousness'

"Ladies, Gentlemen and fellow Movie Buffers,

I am very proud to introduce what film crickets are call the best sixty second meerkat adventure film of all time - The Journey of Couragesness

This movie is claw-biting edge-of-seat thrill-ride, but also have serious message about my ancestors. They did not suffer journey of blood, sweat and beetles only to have family business mix-up with car insurance website!

This is why I decide to write, direct, edit, produce, costume design and do acting in my very own sixty second epic movie film! In true Holly Wood style I spare no expense, I even spend whole evening claw-drawing fabulous movie poster for eye pleasings!

See you at the Oskat awards!

Aleksandr"


The Battle of Fearlessness shows Aleksandr as "Great Granddaddy Vitaly" in the Ural Mountains with an army of meerkats. He is shown dressed in 19th-century clothes. An army of mongooses commanded by "Mongis Khan" arrives and the two armies fight. Vitaly's army wins the battle, with the mongoose army dispersing.

Official comparethemeerkat.com - 'The Battle of Fearlesssness' Movie

"Please take seats for epic sequel to epic-movie-masterpiece The Journey of Courageousness!

The Battle of Fearlessness is second part in the Orlov Family History Trilogy. It tells story of my Great Granddaddy Vitalys victory over Mongis Khan, the evil Mongolian mongoose and his stinky mongoose army. It provokes the question, did Great Granddaddy Vitaly risk his life to give you cheap deal on your car insurance? The answer to this question is, of course, no.

No mongooses were harm in the making of this picture.

Yours fearlessly,

Aleksandr"


Lastly, the final part (The Streets of Ambitiousness), shows Aleksandr acting as his Papa Anton, starting his career with 'Compare the Meerkat.cart', which doesn't fare best. To help himself, he ends up comparing Muskrats to a muskrat who seems curious to see (he eventually runs a muskrat website too). Finally, Papa Anton opens 'Compare the Meerkat.shop', a store on the streets of Moscow.

"My new compare the meerkat advert, The Streets of Ambitiousness, is third and final part in the Orlov Family History Trilogy. It tells story of my Papa Anton's struggles as a young entrepreneur comparing meerkats on the streets of Moscow. This was a time when meerkat comparing was a new and unusual thing (as oppose to the high-technology, high-popular internet phenomenon it is today). My Papa faced many hardship and was force to deal with many ugly muskrats. But he survive. And succeed."


Book

Orlov's "autobiography" was released on 28 October 2010, under the title "A Simples Life: The Life and Times of Aleksandr Orlov".

'A Simples Life, My Life & Times' by Aleksandr Orlov

"Book is now available for pre-order from the Amazon -- click here to get your paws on a copy! It is perfect gift for Christmas time, I am giving Sergei a copy to thank him for taking down my dictation

It is entitle A Simples Life: The Life and Times of Aleksandr Orlov and is probables going to be Number 1 Christmas Bestseller...unless Mr Jeremy Clarkson publishes another edition of his angry dreams.

Book will tell -- thrillingly -- the story of my family and my life: how I achieved success and what it is like to be billionaire meerkat entrepreneur."

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