Gecko VS. Cavemen

Geico Insurance Co.

The Geico commercials have become more about the personal struggle of the Caveman than about selling car insurance. Only six seconds of this thirty-one second commercial have something to do with Geico, and it’s only their famous saying, “So easy a caveman can do it” and their Geico logo that is shown. This ad gives us no information about car insurance except that it’s easy.

The visuals in this commercial are very interesting. The background is mostly stark and gray, so that the Caveman’s orange shirt and the bright blue Geico message on the televisions will stand out. The only other words in the commercial besides the Geico ones on the televisions are stating the location the Caveman is in. I find it interesting that the words in the song by 3 Doors Down “Let Me Be Myself” are portraying what the Caveman is thinking. The song is talking for him and expressing his feelings, but it’s not necessarily talking about, or promoting, car insurance. The only possible message I can see is that getting insurance with Geico is not only easy, but they will let you be yourself.

It is fairly noticeable in the beginning that the Caveman is wearing glasses, walking upright and proper, and has his hair pulled back. He is also wearing really nice dress attire. He gets so frustrated when he sees “So easy a caveman can do it” that he reverts back to the way he looked before his ‘makeover’, and begins running wildly though the street. It’s almost as if the Geico commercials attempt to chronicle the life of a Caveman.

While this commercial is visually and emotionally appealing, it really doesn’t have much to do with Geico Insurance. I guess Geico is assuming that viewers have seen previous Caveman Geico commercials, or that they already know the benefits of switching to Geico. Personally, I like the commercials that show how much you can save by switching, and that have someone talking instead of simply music playing. I don’t think this commercial would be effective in making someone want Geico Car Insurance, but it would probably grab my attention if it came during a commercial break.

Let’s continue with analyzing another commercial concerning the struggle of the Caveman. Unlike the commercial shown above, this is a thirty second commercial with a mere ten seconds devoted to explaining what the company Geico is all about. Sure, its four seconds longer than the previous commercial, and it actually contains dialogue, as opposed to just music. However, does this commercial make people interested in switching to Geico?

Obviously, the main message all the Caveman commercials are trying to convey is that switching to Geico or using Geico for your auto insurance needs is not complicated. In fact, it’s “so easy a Caveman can do it,” which brings us back to our original problem: does this approach work? The commercial, entitled “Geico Caveman Apology,” starts out with a man in a nice business suit, hair fixed in a formal manner, while standing in an actual Geico office. He immediately begins to tell the viewer about, and how all your auto insurance needs can be taken care of in this one convenient location. After this short introduction he delivers the famous lines, “It’s so easy a Caveman can do it,” and begins to laugh.

The scene switches to an upscale restaurant with the same business man and the two Cavemen seated at a round table.  The business man apologizes for the slogan that the Caveman find extremely offensive. However, the scenery is meant to be ironic. Listen to the sophisticated piano music playing in the background, and notice how all three of the guests are dressed in a suit or nice dress shirt. Then, the first Caveman orders “the roast duck,” which is a more expensive and upscale entree. Most viewers would think of the prehistoric Caveman as barbaric and unrefined, which would not be suitable for the society these men are presented as being a part of.  This is a common theme with these commercials.

Using a figure such as a Caveman is meant to grab the viewer’s attention. Imagine flipping through channels and all the sudden seeing this harry Caveman sitting in an expensive restaurant ordering roast duck in a suit. In my opinion, it would effectively catch the attention of viewers. However, I think it spends too much time focusing on the ongoing struggle of these Cavemen and not enough time focusing on what Geico can do for their customers.

At the end of the commercial they quickly add that Geico “could save you 15% or more on car insurance.” I think this is a good message to leave the audience with, but are they going to remember the important facts about Geico or whatever problem the Cavemen have faced? Therefore, the Cavemen are an effective mean for capturing attention, but they are not a successful in conveying the benefits of Geico Insurance. I believe if they had the Caveman talking more about these benefits they would be on target!

the cavemen show picture

Above is the link to the Cavemen show, it is the first part of episode three.  The Cavemen television series was created by Joe Lawson who also creates the cavemen commercials.  The series was very shortly lived.  Only 6 out of the 13 episodes were aired on television.   From October 2 through November 13, 2007 the ratings for the show began plummeting. The concept behind the comedy is to illustrate the racial struggles that cavemen face on a daily basis.  Joel, Nick and Andy are the three main characters who share an upscale condo.  The three Neanderthal’s live a very stylish and modernistic life.

In this episode, Joel and Andy become obsessed with Fruitberry, the last yogurt fad.  Nick on the other hand views life in a cynical fashion and rejects the trend but becomes fixated with a cavewomen, Heather, who works behind the counter.  Throughout the episode, Joel and his Homo sapien girlfriend Kate face relationship issues that the Heather provokes.  Nick begins to date Heather who proves to be too aggressive from him.  In the following parts of this episode, which the linked below, the three cavemen are still being tormented by Heather and cannot escape her aggressive demeanor.

This episode including the entire series has nothing to do with the selling car insurance, which is why the characters where originated.  Instead, the series focuses on the stereotypes that are given to Homo sapiens and cave people.  The television series documents the cavemen’s daily struggles and the prejudice that follows them.  Cavemen are a small unappreciated minority group trying to blend into the modern world.  Joel and Andy both have respectable jobs and Andy lazily is writing his dissertation, On Beyond Dualism: The Evolution of Symbology in a post-Primitive Society.

In the introduction of the show, cavemen are seen as a huge hidden part of society.  It illustrates caveman’s impact on the world from prehistoric times to present day.  People have been living their lives without even realizing and/or understanding the impact that cavemen have made on society.  This is the premise behind Nick’s dissertation and the reason why cavemen become so upset when they are dismissed as functioning members of society.  Even though this show is intended to be viewed as a comedy, I think it really points out many important lessons that need to be taught.  Instead of judging people based on their outward appearance (overgrown brow or skin color), society should focus on coming together as one and learning to appreciate people for their mind and intelligence.

The Gecko

The Geico Gecko has a history of talking about the money you can save by switching to Geico. From his first appearance he has been focused on letting you know that “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance”. The commercials also focus on how closely related the words “Geico” and Gecko” are.

The visuals in this commercial are usually simple. They usually occur either in a public place, like, a street or a park, or in the Geico corporate office.  The background is usually blue or white.

This specific commercial depicts the life and times of G, the Geico gecko.  The commercial is set up like an E! True Hollywood Story exposé. The Real Scoop sets out to chronicle the life of G. G is apparently obsessed with saving people money and handing out coupons from an early age. This focus on savings drives home the idea that Geico is all about saving money. The entire commercial rehashes and rehashes the idea that he was destined to save people money, so Geico was the perfect place for him.

The commercial uses light humor, such as mistaken Gecko “arrest” for public indecency. They also use the same type of music and phrasing that documentaries use, the low monotone voice that emotionlessly tells the facts of the given case. The commercials are visually, emotionally and logically appealing. The scenes are light, not too serious but still visually captivating. The low music moves in rhythm with the emotions intended in the commercial. The commercials also provide information about Geico, the service they provide, the benefits to choosing Geico over another company, and the type of people who they wish to be associated with Geico, i.e., honesty hardworking people who want to save their customers time and money.

I like this commercial. I think it is cute and funny, while still being informational. I think it has the best of all genres and I think they have put it in a cute format. I think this commercial would be very effective in making me consider Geico. At the very least, I wouldn’t turn the channel during this commercial.

Here the gecko comes right out and states that we as viewers are more likely to trust Geico because of their advertising icons.  Specifically, that a talking gecko is particularly trustworthy.  The commercial seems to say that consumers really are more likely to buy from a car insurance company which uses a lovable mascot, yet at the same time it seems to be making a joke about it.  It is almost as if Geico is saying, “By using a likable gecko, we are more likely to convince you to buy our car insurance.  It’s funny, but true.  There’s nothing wrong with us doing it either.  Look, we’re doing it right now, and you’re buying it.”

I find it amazing that the company can in the most matter-of-fact way make the absurd statement that customers trust them because a gecko tells them to, and rightly expect them not to distrust them for it.  One might think that once the trick is shown for what it is, people would stop falling for it.  But no, it’s as if Geico is telling us that it works so well, that even if they reveal that we’d be silly to do such a thing, we will still fall for it.  They even go so far as to say that you are likely to trust Geico so much that you would not only allow, but ask it to babysit for you.  Some might say that Geico is being overconfident, or even arrogant.  Regardless, I find it very witty.

Someone who has never seen or heard of Geico would probably receive this ad differently.  Not having been exposed to the gecko, they would be less likely to get the humor in it.  However, if they are familiar with advertising icons in general, they’ll probably catch the irony of what he’s saying.

The setting of the commercial is very simple.  It looks as if the gecko were having an interview with a reporter who remains unseen (this echoes the statement made by the gecko: that you don’t want to see that guy, you want a gecko to tell you about car insurance).  The gecko himself is calm, peaceful, and genial–just how he’d expect us to be after switching to geico.



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