Geico back-o to-o its roots-o

September 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’d like to take a moment to update a post I did a while back about Geico’s ads. I was upset with Geico’s ads featuring a man on the street offering taste tests that supposedly were analogous to taste for insurance companies. This wasn’t the Geico I knew and loved!


I’m not sure if Geico is a fan of this blog and read my post (though, who actually reads my blog?) but their new ads are back to what I think made them great: humor. The new ads are about how happy Geico makes their customers. As happy as a bodybuilder directing traffic (below), Christopher Columbus in a speedboat, or Gallagher at a farmer’s market.

So how happy do these commercials make me? Happier than a blogger with more than 2 readers!

Thanks Geico. Keep up the good work.


#18 Keeping up with the Cardashians

May 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

There is no question that product ads often cater to genders. Take Kia Soul, whose recent series of commercials featured cute hamsters, a campaign aimed more towards women than men I would argue. Even my mom now is thinking of getting “that hamster car” in place of her VW. (But only if the car dealer offers to throw in some hamster accessories as part of the deal, she says.)

Compare Kia Soul’s commercial to a Ford Mustang commercial:

The Mustang commercial is a little more action-oriented, and doesn’t feature any cute animals. Ford plays toward a male audience by showing the power and speed of their car. Kia shows hip-hop hamsters driving the Soul.

This isn’t to say that all guys would prefer the Ford commercial over the other, or that guys hate cute furry hamsters. It’s just that these two commercials gear their message towards different genders. Why is this? Why not make commercials that appeal to a wide audience and try to get as many consumers as possible?

I would argue that these commercials only focus on certain genders because that’s who their targeted buyer is. Ford probably doesn’t sell a lot of Mustangs to female drivers. Likewise, there probably aren’t a lot of men who want to buy a Soul. These are generalizations, I know, and these car companies probably know it, too. They focus ads towards their audiences because that’s who their products appeal to and who they’re going to be selling cars to.

#16 Sell-ebrities

May 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Why does Nikon hire Ashton Kutcher to star in their commercials? Why not hire a nobody at a fraction of the price? Why put an entire campaign behind a celebrity?

Ashton Kutcher and Nikon (Source)

The basic idea is that people like celebrities and will like things that celebrities say they like. However, Smart Money says that studies done on this actually come out inconclusive. It does say that there have been experiments that have led to the idea of “contagion,” that is that the more an object is handled by a celebrity (or an attractive salesperson) the more likely people are to buy it. The opposite is also true. (Who wants to wear a sweater owned by Hitler?)

So if a company can get a celebrity holding their product, more people are going to want that product because they believe that some of that person has rubbed off onto the product, so they’re kind of buying a part of the celebrity. Golf clubs owned by JFK have no more value than other golf clubs other than that they were owned by JFK.

Celebrity endorsements can also backfire on a company, like when a celebrity goes rogue. Advertisements for any products endorsed by naughty celebrities probably will be pulled because people don’t want to associate with those celebrities.

#14 A Headache Full

May 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’m sorry to bring back what are probably bad memories, but do you remember this commercial?

Head On, apply directly to your forehead. Head On, apply directly to your forehead. I’m pretty sure the reasoning behind these ads were to give viewers a headache so that they would buy the product

They then released a new series of commercials, with people who said, “Head On, I hate your commercials, but I love your product.” Did they plan this form the beginning? Were the annoying commercials that filled your head with that ungodly line just building up to say, “We know they’re annoying, but try our product?”

Can’t say that their tactics ever led me to buying their product, but I know that that damn commercial is still lodged into the far recesses of my memories (again, sorry for digging this back up). However, that’s the reason I decided to write this blog. The other day, I’m not sure how exactly, that repetitive slogan resurfaced in my mind. After six years I can still remember this commercial. I can’t even remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but this ad is still with me.

So, is this a good thing or bad thing? The only reason that it’s still with me is because it was so annoying that I associated this brand with negative emotions and thoughts. However, a connection was still made. Although it’s better to have a positive connection with your audience, a negative one can be just as powerful. You’ll be talked about around the water cooler and information will spread. You’ll even be remembered after more than five years, at least in Head On’s case.

It’s better to have a really memorable bad commercial than a non-memorable good one (though a memorable good one is of course preferable).

#9 Fifteen sips could save you fifteen percent?

April 18, 2012 § 2 Comments

Cavemen, animals (a gecko and that pig), and now taste tests? Geico’s new slew of commercials features a man on the street offering people passing by a taste test of drink X and drink Y. The commercial doesn’t have much production value, just a man with two drinks on a table on the street. Both drinks have similar red look, yet the man says that X is an insurance company that has been around for 75 years and Y is a company that’s only been around for a few years. The passerby takes a sip of both, “X is pretty good,” then “Yikes” after a sip of Y. The reveal: Drink X is Geico, and Y is Other. “You picked Geico!” Then white text overlays “Millions of people are choosing Geico.” Happy ending 🙂

The problem I have with his commercial: what does a taste test have to do with insurance? Granted, many of Geico’s commercials hardly have anything to do with insurance policies, but this one seemed a little too farfetched. I can understand a Coke vs. Pepsi taste test; people are tasting the actual products. But insurance is not something you can taste. Saying that because X tastes better you prefer Geico is downright silly.

But maybe that’s what Geico wants. This commercial just begs to be discussed: “Have you seen the new Geico commercial? Tasting Geico? What is that about?” If that was their intent, it worked because here I am talking about it.

All in all, I do respect Geico’s advertising. They make funny commercials that cause people to talk, and that’s what they want. But this series with the taste testing is not funny, there is no story, it’s just that people prefer X (Geico).

If Geico’s old commercials were Y and these new ones were X, I would have to spit X out and take another cup of Y. Sorry Geico.

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