Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Money-saving website fights off meerkat rival

Published 02/03/2011

Rival campaigns featuring meerkats and an opera singer failed to derail price comparison website moneysupermarket in the battle for profits.

The group upped its media spend by £3.3m last year as its advertising campaign featuring comedian Omid Djalili competed for publicity against Go Compare's opera singer and Compare the Market's talking meerkats.

Revenues increased 9% to £148.9m in 2010, while underlying profits rose 14% to £41m after an improved performance in the second half of the year.

It has ramped up its non-internet advertising media spend by 20% in 2011 and recently announced a new deal to sponsor Britain's Got Talent, which will air in the second quarter of 2011.

A new advert featuring Mr Djalili and Starsky -amp; Hutch's David Soul is due to hit TV screens this week.

Moneysupermarket said 2011 has got off to a strong start as cash-strapped consumers looked for savings and its travel business returned to growth.

The company said its money, insurance and home services arms saw sales rise by 20% in 2011, while travelsupermarket, which has been in full-year sales decline since 2008, saw sales growth after the site was relaunched.

Travelsupermarket is to roll out its first advertising campaign for two years as it sponsors the newly launched Package Holidays Channel.

Chief executive Peter Plumb said 2011 had started well and that the company was confident it would make good progress as cash-strapped consumers look to save money amid the country's ongoing austerity drive.

He added: "Our business is well placed to continue to benefit from consumers' growing use of price comparison sites in a time when there has never been a bigger need to watch the pennies."

Bottom-line pre-tax profits more than trebled to £11m in 2010 as its advertising campaign helped drive up its gross profit margin by more than two percentage points to 71.3%.

Analysts at Investec Securities said the 2010 results were in line with its expectations, adding that it forecast 9% sales growth in the year even though it will come up against tough comparative figures from last year.

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