||This article possibly contains original research. (March 2011)|
Confused.com launched in 2001 , becoming the UK’s first car insurance comparison site. It is based in Cardiff, Wales with its offices located near the headquarters of the Admiral Group. The Admiral Group floated on the London Stock Exchange in September 2004, it is currently the only FTSE100 listed company headquartered in Wales.
Confused.com is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Confused.com has undergone a high degree of management churn in recent years. At the top level, founding Managing Director Kate Armstrong, an IT consultant originally from Sydney, retired from the business in 2005, following the successful floatation of the Admiral Group. She was succeeded by Deborah Williams who took the reins from 2005 to 2007. The business underwent expansive growth in this period with profit hitting £36 million in 2007. It was with some degree of surprise therefore that the industry received news of Williams' departure to join a relatively unknown insurance broker. Williams was succeeded by Carlton Hood in the newly created position of CEO. The sector was shaken up by the ground breaking Compare the Market campaign in 2009 and Confused.com, along with other established competitors lost market share. Hood resigned abruptly in 2010  and was succeeded by Group FD Kevin Chidwick as an interim measure.
The marketing department came under new management in July 2010 when Mike Hoban formally passed a six month probation period and stepped into the role of marketing director. Prior to joining Confused.com, he spent 18 months as the Communications Director of Directgov, helping to position their website as the ‘nation’s official website'.
In early years, Confused.com achieved notoriety and success with a simple, repetitive direct response advertising format. In later years as competitors Moneysupermarket.com, GoCompare.com and Comparethemarket.com have entered the market, Confused.com has tried numerous different advertising vehicles. None have emulated the success of the initial campaign and Confused.com has slipped from the position of market leader to being the fourth largest car insurance comparison website in the UK.
Confused.com have a reputation for their television advertising campaigns starting way back at the company’s inception, when their in-house team came up with the idea of a man with a megaphone shouting about exactly what Confused.com was offering. This led seamlessly into the longest running of Confused.com’s campaigns, featuring simple cardboard props on a white background.
This was followed by adverts containing real life testimonials, featuring customers and prolific social media users talking about their experiences while using the website, as well as showcasing the website’s simplicity by explaining how it works. The campaign was produced using assistance from outside marketing agency, The Farm, who became Confused.com's first external creative agency.
A third wave of advertising was tested regionally in 2009 before being aborted. This campaign featured a haggard, puppet character called Confucius, which bore an uncanny likeness to the Star Wars character Yoda in appearance and speech.
A fourth wave of advertising launched in early 2010 focused on the concept of regret and featured members of the public lamenting that they could have purchased something they'd wanted if they had purchased their car insurance through Confused.com. The campaign was developed with leading agency Beattie McGuinness Bungay (BMB). However, following disappointing results and further loss of market share versus other television advertisers, Confused.com formally dismissed BMB in July 2010.
In September 2010, Confused.com introduced "Cara" to feature in the company’s latest advertising campaign. Cara is a wild haired animated version of the original company mascot that was present on the former Confused.com logo. The inspiration for the creation of Cara came from Kate Armstrong, the founder and former managing director of Confused.com. The campaign saw the appointment of another external agency; this time Hornet of New York. The campaign’s current tagline, "it pays to be Confused.com," has been running since January 2010, surviving from the ill-fated BMB "regret" campaign. In January 2011, an animated advertisement featuring Queen's "Somebody to Love" began running, with a tagline of "18 million strong and still growing". In February 2011 a new advert started featuring Cara (voiced by West End star Louise Dearman) singing the track "Chain Reaction", a song that was originally penned by Bee Gees and sung by Diana Ross.
Marketing Director Mike Hoban has claimed the latest campaign has gained Confused.com 2 million customers since launch, however this claim seems at odds with commentary in the Admiral Group 2011 interim management report that documents a decline in market share and revenue.
In June 2013 a new campaign featuring a robot named Brian was launched.
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