Is replacing James Corden with Timothy Murphy a backward step for Confused.com?

Our Score:

The Background

I’m going to put it out there. I like James Corden.

I did some VO work with him before he went stratospheric and he’s a down-to-earth bloke with a childlike sense of humour, not unlike me. Perhaps that is why us Brits can’t handle quite how famous he’s become. He’s supposed to be one of us, not hobnobbing it with Hollywood A-listers and superstars of the music industry.

He’s Gavin and Stacey and Barry Island, not Kanye and Kim and Sunset Boulevard.

But he’s a British export going down a storm in the States and he attracts the very best of car sharers in his carpool karaoke. Envious he’s hung out with the Red Hot Chili Peppers in his motor? Me? Don’t be silly.

The Big Idea

Is James’s shunning by a fickle British public the reason he’s been replaced by Timothy Murphy from Westworld?

The laid-back dude, much loved by Netflix, is now behind the wheel of the Confused.com classic Merc he obviously car-jacked from James whilst he was paying for the petrol.

Maybe Direct Line’s Winston Wolfe ads have rattled it with their Harvey-Keitel, Tarantino-esque coolness?

Maybe James’s work schedule precluded him from fitting in with the .com car insurance people’s production schedule?

Maybe the .com car insurance people’s budget precluded them being able to afford James’s rising fee?

What They Did

The fact is, it is a backward step for the brand. I know lines like ‘just call me Mister Green Light’ jarred somewhat, but at least I understood what the ‘driver win’ premise was all about.

Timothy’s journey takes us through a dystopian world of out-of-control consumerism where everyone is trying to forcefully flog us something we don’t need or want. Passing inflated blimp pigs with ‘BUY’ emblazoned on them to supermarket shelves filled with goods all branded ‘BUY’, our new guy tells us how confusing it all is.

That might be because he sounds stoned off his nut and is hallucinating badly, not helped by a druggy soundtrack.

The Review

Yes, it’s a cypher for the online shopping melee that has led to the decline of our favourite high-street stores sending many into liquidation, which has now filtered into the myriad car-insurance offers once covered off by the AA and RAC.

In today’s brand-conscious world, we buy into a personality who represents the values of the brand. Dumping the bright and bubbly enthusiasm of Corden to go for the laconic delivery of our Tim is a gamble that might backfire like the old banger he’s driving.

To move from telling me how to win, to telling me not to be confused, is pointing out something I’d rather not reveal as a proud soul who doesn’t freely admit to such character flaws. Yes, I kick car tyres to show my in-depth technical knowledge of a vehicle to save face in front of a mechanic.

In Hindsight

Tim does escape his nightmare onto the same road James drove along to get to Vegas and scoop up some big winnings.

Tim however, in the words of David Byrne, seems to be on a road to nowhere. I hope for Confused.com’s sake, its new strategy isn’t on that trip with him. Only time or consumer research will tell.

OUR SCORE
Tony Malcolm

Tony Malcolm

  • Freelance creative director
  • Freelance

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