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Under the scope: How Geico's advertising made me question my own memory!

Great advertising, or at the very least, repetitive, single-point advertising can make you think and believe all kinds of things. In fact, powerful marketing can even have you question YOUR OWN memory! In this article I talk about how Geico's uniquely creative and extremely repetitive marketing caused me to not only consider their message as true above THEIR competition, but even to second-guess MYSELF! There's a great lesson in this one—how Geico uses multiple ad campaigns to achieve results—extreme repetition is key. The simpler the message the better.

Powerful advertising begins with a great "HOOK"
It's all about the TAGLINE! In advertising agencies all over the world professional writers work alongside art directors with creating advertisements. Good advertising needs to be more than just graphics and text. The creative direction consists of not only the look and feel of the ad but the core message behind the ad.

The tagline, or "hook" if you will, is the verbal thesis that ties in all of the visual components with the core message and the branding message. It's the verbal word trigger that embeds its message deep into your mind when you visualize the story with it. It can take a lot of trial and error to create a good one, but a well-structured slogan can accommodate a wide-range of advertising campaigns and last for years, even decades.

Geico advertising, pre-gecko.
Most of you will think of the gecko if I were to ask you what comes to mind when you think of Geico's advertising. He's the cute little animated gecko with the australian accent. This is a good form of brand marketing because the whole entire point of the advertisement is to make you remember the the name "Geico" by associating it with the visually-stimulating and memorable figure of the gecko. They further drive their point home into your subconscious by having the gecko talk about how people always accidentally call him instead of Geico by getting the two of their names confused. This is an example of a great advertising campaign, but we're going to dive a bit deeper than that.

"So easy a caveman can do it." Remember that one? This is another of Geico's advertising campaigns designed to improve the response of online sign-ups on their website. The whole message is that it's extremely easy to do. Another campaign that isn't overly complex. The core message itself is simple as well as the tagline. Really the majority of the work was up to the art directors and producers to come up with funny ways of a caveman doing something normal that one would assume a caveman couldn't do.

Personally, I didn't think this campaign lived up to it's potential. It was a good concept but I didn't think they executed it as good as they could have. Personally think I could've made this campaign kick some major ass and I would love to come on as a consultant to their next campaign, but hey, I digress. Luckily for Geico, bad advertising still has one thing in common with good advertising—it's still memorable! Most campaigns are ran one at a time, but Geico ran the caveman campaign while also running the gecko campaign simultaneously so I think they may just have a trick or two up their sleeves.

Geico advertising (under the scope)
Ok, so now I've refreshed your memory about the gecko campaign and caveman campaign but wait, did you realize that Geico also ran a third campaign? This one isn't as memorable, but yet, is the most effective of all three! Matter of fact, they even ran it alongside the other two and ran all three simultaneously! What is it?

"Geico. 15 minutes could save you 15 percent or more in your car insurance." What a tagline! It incorporates three messages. Branding: They state the name again in the tagline so it becomes a memorable part of the string.. 15 minutes: It's easy to do (so easy a caveman could do it in fact).. and Save 15 percent or more: Who ISN'T INTERESTED in saving money? Geico ran several ads with just this as it's entire creative direction/tagline. They also ran both the gecko campaign and the caveman campaign and included this tagline at the end of the commercial. Talk about a full-circle, all-encompassing method of advertising!

How they got me!
In the late 90's I was shopping for car insurance and requested quotes from many local providers. One thing about me, I am a frugal and savvy investor and I always do my homework. When I called Geico their quote was not highest but it wasn't the lowest either. I decided to go with a competitor and have been with them for many years.

Now, certain things in life are worth paying more for to ensure that you have a good experience. Car insurance just really hasn't been one of those personal, customer-service type of expenses for me. Due to my excellent driving record, knock on wood. :) If I had gotten into an accident I may just find that the lowest price may not be all it's cracked up to be. But, since my point of reference is purely financial I do occasionally, about once every 3 years or so consider switching carriers if I think it might save me on my premium.

In the past decade I've called Geico probably 3-4 times, once every few years or so just to see if they can offer me a lower premium. EVERY SINGLE TIME I find out and then remind myself of what I already know, that they can't go lower than what I'm paying now—and YET—perhaps from years of being told how 15 minutes could save me 15 percent or more, I question my own memory and I call JUST TO MAKE SURE—NOW THAT'S GOOD ADVERTISING!!!

To our success,
Brian S. Holmes


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