Geico, Who Are You?

Geico‘s marketing efforts are confusing me. They’re really inconsistent. What’s the campaign? Is it the lizard? Is it the caveman? Is it the celebrity testimonial? Oh, maybe it’s the stack of money with the googly eyes. Er, perhaps it’s one of these motorcycle or ATV ads that have nothing to do with any of the others. Remember the, “I’ve got good news… I just saved a ton of money by switching to Geico?” 

Seriously, there seems to be a group of people sitting around a table and coming up with good ideas, and nobody to say, “no, let’s try to be consistent in our marketing efforts.” Instead, they just picked all the ideas, and said, “go with it.” 

Beside the logo slate at the end of a TV spot, I can’t tell that I’m watching a Geico spot. Sure, they’re all kind of quirky, and that is part of their brand, but they’re all so different that they don’t feel related. They don’t feel like a campaign. There are 10 different ideas, 10 different campaigns on the air. Here’s the tragedy in it all – Geico has done of good job of creating strong brand awareness, thanks to the gecko ads that started running in 1999/2000. If you recall, the (now famous) gecko pleaded with people to stop mistakenly calling him to save money on auto insurance. I’ll give Geico credit – they have a strong brand awareness. That’s why it’s tragic…

Why not use this awareness more to your advantage? I feel like with some consistency in marketing, you could leverage that recognition even further. But, until then, I’ll just be confused as to how a lizard, a caveman, squirrels, Joan Rivers, cash with a piercing stare, a baseball coach, a man on a beach with his motorcycle, and a bodyguard are a part of a cohesive ad campaign.

Here’s a list of links to some of the spots I mentioned. I figured links instead of embedding videos, to cut down on loading time.

Lizard – “Free Pie and Chips”

All Caveman Commercials

Squirrels

Joan Rivers Celebrity Testimonial

Googly-Eyed Cash

Motorcycle on the Beach

Female Bodybuilder

Secret Agent

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4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    DB said,

    I don’t try and make a habit of questioning those who know way more on a subject than I do, but Geico seems to be pulling this one off. I see your point about their inconsistent message, but I don’t have to click a single link you posted to know exactly what commercial/campaign you are talking about. Maybe it simply has to do with their market saturation, but they are reaching that audience and so is their slogan of saving money by switching auto insurance. Though, your final point is probably best…they can be more effective than they already are with a logical and rational approach.

    • 2

      Mike McDowell said,

      The item up for debate is not whether or not you know exactly which commercials I’m referring to. We all do. In fact, you’ll notice I applaud their level of brand awareness several times. They spend a lot of money on TV ads, and awareness isn’t the issue. The issue is their message is slightly inconsistent. I like the ads. But, if you’re going to do an ad campaign with the celebrity testimonials, why run the gecko ads and the googly-eyed cash and the caveman ads and the secret service ads all at the same time? They are SO different from one another, they miss out on some cohesion. I can’t help but think that if they concentrated their efforts, they’d be even stronger. Geico is a good company, and good marketers, but the fractured ad campaigns confuse me.

  2. 3

    Ryan Jerz said,

    All ad campaigns have to be run with a goal in mind, right? The goal for Geico has to be “get people to switch.” It’s definitely not “be consistent.” I never thought about, nor cared that they run all kinds of different commercials. That’s not the point. The point is finding something that will make me switch to Geico. Perhaps all the different ads (and for an insurance agency, thank God they’re not soft-focused happy people enjoying life like State Farm’s) are there to serve as something that grabs different audiences. I think before you question their consistency, you should take a look to see if the different spots are targeted more precisely than you realize. I don’t know if they are, but maybe the Cavemen play better to Prime Time TV, and the Googly eyes guy plays better to sports watchers. Or whatever.

  3. 4

    Mike McDowell said,

    Truthfully, I don’t know that they’re targeting different groups. But I do know that you can still have a consistent campaign, one that feels related from piece to piece, and reach different audiences. And marketing is very much about consistency and concentration. By being all over the board, I think they’re missing out on some cohesion.


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