Target: Insurance policy holders
Reviewer: Bob Bader
In this execution of the â€œCavemanâ€ campaign, the angry caveman is â€œin sessionâ€ with his therapist, who asks the caveman why the â€œso easy a caveman can do itâ€ Geico tagline is offensive to cavemen. “It’s just a commercial,” she says. The caveman ends up exposing the therapists underlying racist (species-ist?) attitude. The spot ends with a joke about putting Caveman mom on speaker phone.
The caveman campaign is running concurrently with two other Geico campaigns, the celebrated Gekko ads, as well as the Celebrity campaign. The three campaigns all focus against Geicoâ€™s core brand promise of convenient savings.
This Caveman Therapist spot fits well within the successful Geico advertising formula. First, by stressing the simplicity of applying with Geico, it addresses one switching cost that could dissuade consumers from initiating the evaluation process. Second, the spot contains the necessary irreverent, humorous elements common to all their ads. Geicoâ€™s skill is to consistently hit the right levity note. Too much frivolity or slapstick wonâ€™t work: nobody wants to buy their insurance from the Budweiser lizards or Phil Hartmanâ€™s Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. (As proof, save for a Gekko or two, Geicoâ€™s website is indistinguishable from those of its competitors.) The Therapist spot, with its mainstream cleverness and use of political correctness as a safe foil, lands within the appropriate whimsical zone.
The Caveman spot also continues Geicoâ€™s practice of satirizing the disingenuous, be it ad icons, celebrity spokesmen, actors portraying â€œrealâ€ people, or insincere psychoanalysts. Of course, Geicoâ€™s real target is the unnecessary insurance middleman. â€œInsurance is insurance. By going direct, we can save you money, fast, so letâ€™s dispense with the gravitas and get talking.â€ This approach lends the brand a common-sense, straight-talking, independent persona. Viewed from this angle, the therapist is a stand-in for traditional insurers, who believe theyâ€™re smarter than the average consumer – until exposed by the rational, grounded, caveman: i.e., the Geico customer.
What Doesnâ€™t Work:
The Caveman Therapist supports Geicoâ€™s advertising strategy and brand positioning. However, there is one future watch-out. To minimize consumer tune-out to a saturation level of message bombardment, Geico is running several campaigns concurrently. This strategy also allows them to calibrate the campaigns against selected consumer targets. The challenge inherent with this approach â€“ increased here due to the use of multiple satirical executions – is to ensure that the medley of messages harmoniously support the brand proposition, and not diverge into competing, confusing claims.
To date, the sum of the Geico ad parts has exceeded the whole. Cavemen therapy may represent the outer limits, beyond which the comedic setup, against a backdrop of other brand claims, becomes less impactful.
Branding Bottom Line:
Most challenging therapy client since Tony Soprano keeps Geico rolling along.