The Geico caveman is brilliant advertising, but is the pissed off Neanderthal really selling more insurance policies?

I’ve loved the Geico caveman campaign from the get-go, but does it really sell more policies? And, will a proposed sitcom series for the hirsute dude make consumers favor Geico over other insurers?

Beseiged by other forms of more effective, one-to-one marketing forms, increasingly desperate Caveman_1 advertisers have been pursuing inane and, in some cases, downright irresponsible approaches (the recent suicide-themed TV spots during the Super Bowl are a case in point). Geico and its agency, Martin, have found original approaches with the Gecko and caveman. And, I’m sure they create awareness and familiarity. But, do they also enhance consideration and actual sales?

Geico, of course, is one of the wholly owned insurance operations controlled by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire’s entire insurance unit, which also includes life insurers and so-called reinsurers, last week reported a profit of $3.8 billion for 2006, up from just $53 million in 2005. But on the rare occasions that insurance comes up in cocktail conversations, I hear people complain that Geico is too expensive and certainly no different or better than its competitors.

What’s more, it is clear that the Cavemen have already become independent of the Geico brand: they’ve been given a go-ahead for their own TV sitcom, with Geico/Berkshire collecting a royalty.

So, what’s the answer? Geico and Martin have the right idea with a comprehensive campaign that also includes digital. But too many of their holding company advertising peers are still clinging to the 30-second spot. I, for one, think it’s time for these Neanderthals to head back to the cave, rub two sticks together and figure out new ways to make fire (and their service offerings more relevant).

Thanks to Andrea for this idea.

3 thoughts on “The Geico caveman is brilliant advertising, but is the pissed off Neanderthal really selling more insurance policies?

  1. At a recent AdAge conference, a panel of kids talked about digital trends, what they like/dislike about advertising, etc. One girl mentioned how much she LOVED the caveman spots – and said when she’s able to drive, Geico will be her insurance of choice (even if other plans are slightly better). Interesting to see how brand loyalty is developed early in life through the power of advertising.
    On a related note, check out Geico’s microsite:

  2. I followed the Caveman’s pitch and compared Geico’s deal to my current policy. USAA won hands down.
    To your point, Cath10021, it would be great to see the Caveman, the Gecko and MedGuy all in Second Life. Ahhh the conversations those three could have.
    Take care.

  3. Well, I prefer the cutesy Geico gecko to those cavemen any day. Insurance of any kind is a tough sell. Does anyone really purchase a MetLife policy because of Snoopy? I doubt it. There’s no way to make car insurance appealing, so we’re probably doomed to Cavemen podcasts in the future. You never know, maybe they’ll find a new home on Second Life.