Video: Idyllic Suffolk village stars in latest compare the meerkat TV advert
NO, your eyes are not deceiving you – this is indeed a famous Suffolk beauty spot featuring in a quirky new advert.
The latest in the hugely popular series of Compare the Market commercials, featuring animated meerkat Aleksandr Orlov and his furry friends, had its debut this week, with the action moving to the fictional village of Meerkovo.
Many may have noticed that Meerkovo pays a passing resemblance to the picturesque village of Kersey, near Hadleigh, well known for its ford or “splash”.
In the clip, the village hall is transformed into a “meerpup” school, houses are given fake fronts to make them appear as shops, while the historic Bell public house is transformed into the Queasy Mongoose pub.
The promotional push, for insurance firm Compare the Market, even includes a new website for the fabricated Meerkovian newspaper, with doctored images of Kersey included.
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In the voiceover for the advert, Aleksandr explains that there is “dark cloud over Meerkovo” and the village is suffering because its culture relies on Compare the Meerkat, but that the website is being swamped by confused by people looking for Compare the Market.
He speaks to many meerkats around the digitally-enhanced village, visiting the pub, shops and school on his tour.
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In reality, Kersey is a popular stop-off for walkers and tourists in central Suffolk and in August 1980 the village was used in the famous launch commercial for the Austin Metro, described as “a British car to beat the world”, part of a prestigious campaign that was kept closely under wraps by British Leyland until it aired.
A production team visited the village again in October last year under a shroud of secrecy to film the footage for use in the meerkat advert.
Although residents were not banned from watching the filming or speaking about it, they were asked to help keep it secret so as to avoid disappointing the campaign’s many fans.
Aleksandr has quickly become an online sensation and the Russian star even has nearly 800,000 friends on Facebook and a further 40,000 followers on Twitter.
n Visit www.eadt.co.uk to see the advert in full