James Thomson Editor

James Thomson is the editor of BRW. Previously he was editor and publisher of SmartCompany and a senior editor at Business Spectator. He writes regularly on Australia's wealthiest entrepreneurs and has deep expertise in small business and the mid market.

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The Block helps build momentum for iSelect float

Published 21 March 2013 10:50, Updated 22 March 2013 07:27

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The Block helps build momentum for iSelect float

The cast of Nine’s The Block may be helping put some steam into iSelect’s planned June float. Photo: Fairfax Media

I admit it, I’m a sucker for The Block. Having renovated two places, there is something addictive (and perhaps a little soothing) about watching other people going through the process and knowing I don’t have to lift a finger.

The show has rated well for the Nine Network, continuing with the momentum that started last year with another reality show, The Voice. Unencumbered by debt as Nine now is, there’s plenty of cash to buy plenty more blocks.

The participants did OK too, with profits of $275,000, $25,000, $220,000 and $295,000.

But once again, perhaps the biggest winner were the sponsors, and in particular one that has successfully introduced itself to millions of mum and dad investors.

Insurance comparison service iSelect was one of the biggest sponsors of the show and was absolutely plastered all over the finale.

The company is in a competitive market, where marketing budgets are big and the battle for customers is getting more intensive, with overseas competitors entering the market.

But iSelect has its eyes on another prize – a sharemarket float.

The company is expected to hit the boards sometime before the end of June. Not only will it be one of the big floats of 2013, but it will also be one of the biggest floats of a real consumer brand.

I’m not sure how important retail investors will be in the iSelect IPO, but the company’s big marketing push must surely be partly aimed at building some momentum for the float.

Consumer brands need to show investors that they have a big slice of their target market. There are lots of metrics to demonstrate market share, but an avalanche of advertising certainly won’t hurt in reinforcing that iSelect is top of mind.

Who knows, perhaps it will mean a few more cents on the share price come the first day of trade.

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