Brand Promise-cuity

Geico defies everything I learned during my Incredibly Successful Career (ISC) about branding.  I was schooled in the world of single-mindedness, say what nobody else can, have an unassailable position.  Now I wonder.  I mean Geico used to be about saving money on car insurance.   This spot was one of the first using the iconic gecko that began around 1999.  Simple.  Entertaining.  Clear message:  Save Money Using Geico Car Insurance

  By the way I think the gecko began as an American…not sure what happened…maybe they opened an office somewhere in the UK.  

 In 2006, this spot ran introducing the notion that Geico is so easy even a caveman can do it.  Cavemen everywhere were offended.   I guess they weren’t saving money anymore but it was really easy to get Geico insurance. 

Then in late 2008 Geico introduced the creepy “Kash” commercials to slam home the notion that you can save a pile of cash.  Apparently somebody said “We need to tell people we save them money and do it with a 2X4.”  OK, back to saving money..but why not use the gecko?

Now they are running the Rod Serling-esque guy doing the “Does a…” spots.  I think these are about saving money but I forget by the time the spots end.   These appear to be less about a clear idea and more about using a pop culture reference (Rod Serling) which goes back to the 1950’s.  By the time the analogy is done in each case I forget what I was supposed to know.

Somewhere along the way, the agency and the client decided tha they really could do any commercials they wanted as long as they mentioned saving money or making it easy.  This way the agency could win lots of awards, keep the creatives from being bored and Geico could buy tons of spots to offset any possible confusion among consumers.   I think the creative approaches have done Geico a disservice.   Geico is known more for clever spots that win awards than being a good insurance company. 

It must have worked because in  2007 Warren Buffett bought Geico. (He already owned a big piece.)  He loves insurance ( He owns six others.) and he really loves Geico.  As you will see from this final video  the gecko is prominent.   But you have to watch the video to the end so you can see Warren rock the house in a Neil Young /Caveman sort of way.  Seems to me that all Geico really has to do is say Warren owns the company.  Game over. 

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