Comparison website Hippo.co.za has launched an innovative advertising campaign aimed at encouraging consumers to make better purchasing decisions. The Hippo Regret Monsters campaign, created with award-winning agency FoxP2, shines a light on bad decisions and provides a solution for avoiding them in the future.
The lead advertisement, which flighted this week, shows the popular Hippo.co.za mascot defeating a motley collection of monsters through a series of over-the-top action sequences. It builds on the consumers’ love for the popular Hippo character.
‘The Hippo mascot is our most powerful brand asset, and the hero in the new campaign. We reintroduced the character to the market in 2018 and its grunt has been a reminder for consumers to compare quotes on Hippo.co.za before committing to any product. After almost three years, it was time to expand the Hippo character’s universe. We looked at the psychology of decision-making and the idea that our regrets follow us around like little monsters. To us, there is no better hero than Hippo to help consumers fight their #RegretMonster,’ says Vera Nagtegaal, Hippo.co.za Head of Marketing & Culture.
‘Creating the puppets was a collaborative process as we worked to find the right balance between scary, but not too scary, and loveable, but not too loveable,’ adds Darren Kilfoil, Senior Copywriter at FoxP2. ‘We already had one great character in the Hippo, but now our challenge was to bring its nemeses to life in the form of monsters whose asses it could kick. The biggest question we had going forward was: how can we make puppet-on-puppet combat look awesome?’
‘We all identify with being plagued by our regrets,’ says advertisement director Donovan Marsh (Spud, Hunter Killer). ‘The challenge for the ad was to take this idea and create a magical universe where regrets give rise to monsters in a fun and humorous way.’
The advertisement is packed with special effects, making it less like a TV spot and more like a short action movie.
The combination of digital effects and real-world puppets provided a unique challenge to puppet fabricator Rob Carlisle and his team. ‘The director wanted to honour the medium of puppetry as much as possible,’ says Carlisle. ‘In many ways his treatment was an homage to classical puppetry. The project became a stunning infusion of modern and classical, with the digital-centric workflow of CFX Digital allowing the creatives to visualise the characters in-depth, right down to the nuances of expression, while the adherence to classical disciplines in rigging and movement kept us firmly based in the medium.’
‘You need to plan the action meticulously so that puppets and rigs can be built to achieve the action shots we had planned,’ Marsh says, speaking to the complexities of the shoot. ‘This requires careful storyboarding. We modelled many of the sequences on famous moments in my favourite action and action/comedy movies. I wanted to make him Kung-fu Hippo, who genre-bends into different universes becoming Superhero-Hippo, Yoda-Hippo and finally Thor-Hippo!’
Through the campaign, the brand aims to engage with audiences through brand storytelling – and few things are more universal or relatable than cringe-worthy regrets. The Regret Monsters featured in the campaign don’t reference any specific regrets, but rather speak to the universality of regrets in general. Maybe it’s the time you flipped the burly biker off in traffic, or the time you blew your paycheque at the casino…
‘At a time when household budgets are tightened, South Africans are especially conscious of their spending (and saving). Our trusted partners also rely on us to add value to both their business and their consumers. The Regret Monsters are representations of all our bad financial and life decisions. Our Hippo character plays its role in enabling consumers to make better, more informed choices every day of their lives,’ says Hippo.co.za CEO Bradley Du Chenne.
The brand’s free online platform enables South Africans to compare deals on insurance, medical aid, personal loans, travel and fibre internet deals – side by side, and with detailed prices and benefits – so that consumers can make better decisions when it comes to their money.
With these characters, the aim is to land Hippo.co.za’s core brand message of enabling consumers to make better, more informed choices around their expenses.
And, of course, avoiding being haunted by future Regret Monsters.
The campaign is flighting on all major platforms and will feature innovative audience engagement moments throughout its rollout.