Meerkat mania was sparked in Britain by a series of adverts featuring Aleksandr Orlov, a CGI fictional anthropomorphic Russian meerkat. He is portrayed as being of aristocratic stock, and the founder of comparethemeerkat.com The character is central to an advertising campaign for a price comparison website.
It launched in January 2009 and centres on his frustration that people keep coming to his website looking for car insurance, not meerkats, because ‘Market’ sounds similar to ‘Meerkat’ when spoken in a Russian accent. His catchphrase “Simples” has subsequently been widely used across the country and has even made it into both the Collins English Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary
The latest adverts feature Arnold Schwarzenegger and Nicole Kidman.
Visitors to zoos in the UK constantly use the catchphrase to try to attract the attention of the real Meerkats which, not having access to a television, has been a source of great puzzlement and ultimately annoyance to them.
So much so they have taken to wearing disguises to try to alleviate the problem.
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