Insurance or entertainment?

In the beginning we didn’t set out to create an entertainment brand. We set out to use humor to sell direct-to-consumer car insurance. But by staying true to our brand strategy and our brand voice, over time, instead of a distraction, Geico ads became a destination. Here’s a recent screenshot from Geico’s YouTube Channel.

As of this writing, there are more than 1.9 million subscribers to Geico’s YouTube Channel. Showtime‘s has around 720K.

As I said in my blog Nobody Knows Anything, there are no secret formulas to success and especially to successful advertising. But I will offer a few unscientifically-founded, personal observations.

  1. Start with a human truth.

When you taste something bad, you want somebody else to try it. Why is that? Nobody knows. It’s just one of those things that we humans (and apparently raccoons) do.

2. Make the idea bigger than an ad.

Cooking videos were all over social media. So we did the same with ours.

3. A good story deserves a good sequel or two or three. (Thanks, Hollywood.)

In fact, we made sequels to three different Geico campaigns and invited America to vote for their favorite.

4. Last but not least, you had to be there.

Obviously what is true for one brand is not true for any other.

This kind of thinking and commitment to long-term Geico branding didn’t happen overnight. And it didn’t happen because of me. It happened because a group of very smart people put up some fairly flexible guard rails around a challenger brand that had everything to gain.

So, let’s go back to my original question. Is Geico an insurance brand or an entrainment brand? Since I posed it, I’ll answer it.

It’s a stupid question.

Here’s the real question. Has Geico’s brand strategy been a success? The market says yes. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the only question (and answer) that counts.

Published by bassetts49

50 years in advertising, 20 years as the creative lead on Geico. A life in creative thinking.

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