Does Geico’s multi-concept strategy work?

Please note that this post was originally published on July 22, 2010. As a result, any external links or videos used may no longer be functional.

How many creative strategies can one brand successfully execute at one time?

Conventional wisdom suggests one and one only. Be focused. Be consistent. Hammer it. You’ll grow weary of the campaign long before the audience is even aware of it.

Geico has broken this rule of thumb again and again. With seeming success.

Martin, the talking gecko, is most closely identified with the Geico brand, but he no longer has to do all of the heavy lifting.

The cavemen characters handle some of that, unintentionally and tragically reminding us how simple it is to switch insurance companies (”so easy a caveman could do it”).

There is also the stack of money with googly eyes, called Kash, representing “the money you could be saving with Geico.”

Now, actor Mike McGlone, playing a tough-guy reporter, asks rhetorical questions, such as “”Is a bird in the hand worth two in the bush?” (Learn the answer to, “Did the little piggy cry, ‘wee, wee, wee,’ all the way home?,” below.

And there’s more. Deadliest Catch boat captains, Jonathan and Andy Hillstrand, have appeared in numerous TV commercials, some of which costar the cavemen and Kash.

Even, Bear Grylls of Man Vs. Wild recently happened upon Martin the gecko in the bush. I was expecting Bear to eat him, but no such luck.

Other creative approaches focus on individual insurance products for motorcycles, boats, RVs, etc. (Many of Geico’s current spots are available to view here.)

Fielding multiple concepts simultaneously seems like a recipe for disaster, but the strategy appears to work. How? Three reasons:

  1. Lots of budget. Geico spent $751 million on advertising in 2007, $561 million in 2008, and $473 million through October of 2009, per Nielsen. The commercials run endlessly.
  2. Integrated concepts. To help connect the executions, characters frequently appear in each other’s commercials. (See Mike McGlone and a caveman in this spot, for example.)
  3. Simple messages. While Geico’s creative execution is not focused, its messages regarding cost savings and ease of switching are simple and consistent. Most spots open or close with “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.”

So far, the gecko seems to have more staying power than the Budweiser frogs.

This entry was posted in advertising, loyalty, promotion, simplicity, strategy.

0 Responses to Does Geico’s multi-concept strategy work?

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  3. Devin Meister says:

    The brilliant thing about the Geico effort, aside from staying with a simple message, is that they treat every ad as a direct response. I know that they used to test extensively. A spot didn’t bump traffic to the site it was dropped. Varying the creative lets them hit different audiences with different humor. If it works, it stays. If it doesn’t they try again.

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