The GEICO… Body Builder?

As the economy begins to pick up its pace once again, businesses have to stay on top of their IMC strategies so that they can stand out over their competitors. In order to do this, many companies have delved into the tactic of creating commercials that are often silly and strange. GEICO Auto Insurance is one company in particular that has had unique marketing tactics since day one, but has recently stepped their game up (or down?) with their interesting and quirky commercials. One of their most recent commercials includes two guys that play guitar and a mandolin who talk about how happy saving money on insurance could make someone. The guitarists on stage are located among a backdrop of cars zooming past, and a bodybuilder directing traffic. This definitely shows the quirky and fun character that the GEICO brand has created with its advertisements in the past. This commercial seems to be intended to make the audience laugh and view GEICO in a lighthearted way, but the commercial also diverges from the traditional GEICO commercials we are familiar with. What happened to our friendly GEICO lizard?!

From the many GEICO commercials we’ve seen in the past, we would expect to see the GEICO lizard. However, in this one he does not make an appearance at all. The question is: does this help or hurt the mission of GEICO? As viewers, we become accustomed to certain characteristics within advertisements for a company and the absence of our affable friend immediately generates this question. Clearly, GEICO is trying a different approach for this commercial, because usually we might expect the lizard to be directing traffic rather than the bodybuilder in the video below:

A quick assessment from GEICO’s Youtube Channel says:

“When you think about it, a bodybuilder is the perfect person to direct traffic. He’s fit enough to move his arms around for hours at a time, he’s big enough to be noticed by passing motorists, and he is, one would hope, savvy to local traffic laws. I guess the last one doesn’t have much to do with bodybuilding…

He does know one other important fact: switching your car insurance to GEICO could make you happier than a body builder directing traffic…”

Here we can understand the choice of the body builder as the person directing traffic, except of course the assumption that he is a savvy, traffic law-knowing body builder. At first glance, the commercial seems a peculiar choice, yet we still giggle at the silliness of a body builder directing traffic—with his arm motions very much resembling the same moves he would do at a body building competition to show his physique. As far as getting the viewers’ attention and eliciting a positive reaction, this commercial is good. Another positive point is that GEICO stays true to their theme: You will be happier if you have GEICO Auto Insurance. The gap though is, why would a body builder enjoy directing traffic? But, maybe that is the humor and why it works.

–  Rachel BetterbidNicole BetterbidLucy RojoSierra ScellatoShauna Seaver