That’s right. Maxwell, the little piggy who cried “Wee Wee Wee” all the way home in the 2010 Geico commercial is now one of the most recognizable characters in the media today. Simply putting a name to one of the little pigs from the “This Little Piggy” song (that most Americans are familiar with) gave many viewers a chance to reflect on their childhood and build a connection with the viewer.
Kenneth Burke, an American theorist and philosopher, would refer to Maxwell as the agent in the series of commercials. Using Maxwell as a constant character in these commercials is an aligned way to tie the series of advertisements all together. Despite the various acts, scenes, purposes, and agencies used throughout the series of advertisements, Maxwell is always present throughout and that offers the viewers the opportunity to classify him as a sort of mascot. Similar to the Geico Gecko, despite what he is doing, many viewers will now instantly link Maxwell with Geico because of the conduciveness of the ads.
Geico now has a series of at least 5 commercials all starring Maxwell. He is shown participating in a range of acts and in an array of different settings throughout the various commercials. From zip lining down a mountain to driving a convertible all the way to a romantic night on a secluded mountaintop, Geico has stopped at nothing to incorporate their little piggy and keep their marketing consistent. Sometimes, Gieco also takes the opportunity to crack a quick joke and or pull in a well-known cultural saying. For example, in one of their most recent commercials, Maxwell is on a plane and they seize the opportunity to tie in the old saying of ‘I will believe it when pigs fly.’
With that being said, many other companies are now utilizing a similar method. Commercials featuring characters that parallel to those of the big bad wolf, little red riding hood, and the three bears have rushed the media. Clearly, the use of recalling characters from cultural fairy tales and our past experiences is an effective way to set a product ahead of its competition. Furthermore, using a consistent character, although it could get annoying, is also an effective way of building an advertising campaign and creating a name or face for the company.