The Rise of the Loans of the Apes

MyMate Loans

Last week a new advert featuring dancing orangutans, Chesney Hawkes, and a lot of green screen had its first airing. No, it wasn’t a new promo for an ITV2 reality show, but instead a venture into DRTV by MyMate, an online-based short-term finance provider.

At first glance the spot, created by ABF Pictures, has all the hallmarks of an early Go Compare advert with meerkat-sized ambition. On second glance there’s a huge dichotomy between the brand and the product, which is only going to aggravate viewers and campaigners who are already calling for short-term loan companies to be burned at the stake. Those who question the morality of such lenders will see this as simply a wolf in sheep’s/orangutan’s clothing. However, if you’re a customer in need of a short-term loan and want to avoid using the market leaders, you’re most definitely going to have these dancing apes at the front of your mind when you next open your laptop.

It’s a pretty bonkers idea that looks like it was conceived by a random advert generator, but I think it actually kind of works. In a market where it’s about shouting louder than your competitors, this new creative might be a confident step towards taking a bite out of the Wonga pie.

If MyMate are on a customer acquisition drive and want to forge a brand identity in a short space of time, then they’re on the right path. Bath-based direct response agency TRT are handling the media planning and buying, and using TV as the sole media channel for this visually bold new creative is a wise move. It’s a big leap for a new, small advertiser to appear on TV, but it’s still the most cost-effective medium for broadcasting to a large audience. One missed opportunity here could perhaps be a hashtag or a push towards generating some social media engagement given the peculiar narrative of the creative, but that might not be an ideal strategy given the product offering.

So will MyMate be able to truly make a mark on the short-term finance market? Not many DRTV/daytime advertisers create something that stands out in this way in a field where brand advertising comes second to conversions, but this maybe isn’t the right creative route in the long-term for a loan company. Does it make me trust the brand? No. Will it raise ears and eyebrows and therefore make the investment on TV worthwhile? Absolutely, but time will be the true test here.


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