News from the Natural World: Meerkats sue comparethemarket.com over offensive portrayal of their species.
The Platypus can reveal the sensational new legal case rattling the animal kingdom and the human world. A mob of Meerkats has brought forward a class-action lawsuit against the insurance company comparethemarket.com. They are filing for libel, slander and intellectual property theft over the offensive character Orlov the Meerkat. The Meerkats claim that the use of Orlov is an offensive and lazy PR stunt which bears no relation to their business.
Meerkats are small mammals native to the Kalahari Desert in Africa. They are a member of the mongoose family and their collective noun is a “mob”. In addition, a “mob” of Meerkats are almost always relatives. They have a broad head, pointed snout, thin tapering tail, large eyes, long legs, and a brindled coat pattern. Typically they measure about 35cm and weigh under 1kg. They are highly social animals and have become loved by humans for their tight bonds of kinship and family.
Meerkats furious at misrepresentation
They became so loved by humans that one company decided to use their image as a marketing ploy. comparethemarket.com created an advertising campaign for British TV featuring the ploy ‘Compare the Meerkat’. They created a character called Aleksandr Orlov who was a CGI anthropomorphic Russian Meerkat. In addition, he was painted as an aristocrat and was the founder of the company. Furthermore, his rather silly catchphrase was ‘Simples’. The campaign became so successful that the company launched clothes, products, and even toys featuring Orlov the Meerkat.