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Hit the North: Koala delivers proper Northern ad for


Manchester-based Koala has created a TV ad for challenger insurance comparison website was founded by Accrington-born British entrepreneur, Anthony Rushton and he even stars in the ad himself, albeit in a last-minute creative decision taken just before filming.

Koala worked alongside Yorkshire rapper ExP to devise the concept and creative, which will air as a Channel 4 nationwide campaign from the 1st December. The 30-sec ad celebrates the Northern roots of the brand with its playful and uplifting tone.

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Koala’s ad for

James Rees, Koala’s creative director, said: “This is a completely new brand in a crowded marketplace. We knew we had to do something that would stand out and be memorable. With the current financial situation affecting many, we also wanted to create an ad full of positivity and energy, which would be 30 seconds of fun and joy on people’s screens.

“As soon as I heard the lyrics that ExP had written, I immediately saw the ad set in an abstract Northern tearoom with plenty of bizarre interactions.”

The ad is certainly quirky, but Rees insists there’s no ill intent behind some of the stereoptypes it portrays: “Yes we’re playing on being from the North, but it isn’t done at the North’s expense. We’ve created something that is honest and true, as well as fun. Everyone that worked on the shoot is from the North – from the talent to the make-up artists and of course our two main stars.”

While the ad features rapper ExP, founder Anthony Rushton also appears in the ad as Mr OwMuch.

Rees continued: “Anthony was never meant to be in the ad, but I’m sure you can all agree that he makes an absolutely cracking Mr OwMuch. Without ExP’s vision to include Anthony in his lyrics, we could never have taken the ad in that direction. It was also great that Anthony was on board to do it because that’s a huge thing to take on.”

Mr OwMuch himself seems pleased with the results: “I think the ad is the dogs’ b*llocks,” Rushton declared. “Before we started working with both Koala and ExP we had a great name for the brand and a great URL. We then brought in two really creative minds in James and ExP to push the creative direction of both the ad and the brand. We let ExP set the situation and the scene he wanted to be in. Koala were then able to bring this vision to life with the set-up, the characters, and their creative execution.

“Then we made the decision for me to appear as Mr OwMuch. Taking the visualisation from the ad, we have now used it across our site and all our branding. It’s amazing that by giving so much control to both Koala and ExP, we’ve been able to bring such a genuine and authentic feel to the brand.”

ExP added: “Both Anthony and James continually pushed me to be me to put as much of myself into it as possible. The trust they placed in me really means a lot, and it felt so natural working with them both. I’ve turned things down in the past where it wouldn’t have been right for me and my career, but this was perfect.”

The ad was filmed at Healey Dell Tea Rooms in Rochdale, an essential choice to ensure everything about the ad stayed true to OwMuch’s Northern roots.

Rushton said: “I’m from Accrington so it’s important to me to speak honestly to the people of the North. My one stipulation for the ad was to keep it authentically northern. Healey Dell Tea Rooms is exactly that, authentically northern. And from that backdrop, the team at Koala really brought that to life.”

The ad will launch on December 1 and is the first in a series of ads which will support the brand.

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