New Direct Line Advertising campaign
Last month Direct Line, a large motor/home insurance company in the UK, decided to launch an above the line advertising campaign against what are known as €œAggregator€ sites.
Essentially these sites includes the likes of moneysupermarket & confused.com which allow you to enter in personal details and then provide you with quotes for your insurance; whilst acting as 3rd parties it’s fair to say that they are paid for new customers they send to the insurers, & may well promote some companies more, based on these payments.
Direct Line have claimed that these sites are simply middlemen and that the best way for customers to go is direct. In a Telegraph interview, Direct Line said the reasons for the ads were that they:
wanted to reassert our position that Direct Line always cuts out the middleman….By their very nature, these sites are focused primarily on price. As our ads make clear, we offer unique benefits which can’t easily be conveyed in an online best-buy table.
It therefore makes sense why Direct Line would refuse to use aggregator & comparisson sites (even if I don’t agree with their statement, this has been its policy since its launch – the ads just reassert this). But what is slightly strange is that they are still running an affiliate program.
Surely all affiliates are also middlemen and using them seems to go against their statement above. At the same time, Cashback sites such as Greasypalm & Quidco have recently been banned from the Direct Line program. Cashback sites offer money back to their customers when they complete an action such as taking out a new insurance policy and send all traffic directly to their merchant site; whilst we can see that they act as the sort of middlemen Direct Line want to exclude, they at least pass benefits on to the user in the form of cash, which normal affiliates do not.
Price comparison sites (and Cashback sites) have certainly changed the way lots of people shop and it will be interesting to see if Direct Lines’ high profile campaign will influence anyone else to follow suite. We would be really interested to get the views of Cashback and Price comparison sites on this advertising campaign and if they feel that if will convince potential customers to go direct; we’d also love to hear from Direct Line about how they differentiate comparisson sites, affiliates & cash back schemes.