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GEICO is an insurance company that is as memorable for its great products and service as it is for the entertaining advertisements that represent the company’s benefits, philosophy and vision. The company has several different ad campaigns, each with its own witty twist, and the GEICO caveman is actually a duo of cavemen who have made numerous appearances on the behalf of GEICO over the years.
GEICO is an auto insurance company founded in 1936 by a husband and wife team. Mr. Leo Goodland and his wife Lillian built GEICO during the Great Depression, starting with a small business and in later years growing it into a thriving, successful insurance company that provides a variety of products to meet the needs of over 10 million satisfied policyholders. Today the company is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, after famous investor Warren Buffet bought all of GEICO’s shares in 1994. He originally invested in some of the company’s shares while he was in college in 1951.
Who Conceived the Cavemen
The two cavemen are trademarked characters of GEICO. They have starred in a series of commercials on television, starting in 2004 and still continuing today. They were created by an advertising executive named Joe Lawson, representing The Martin Agency. The campaign has won numerous awards, including being voted American’s favorite advertising icon of the year in 2008, and joining the company’s famous gecko on Advertising Week’s Walk of Fame. The cavemen were a no-show at the awards ceremony, however, as they were still bothered by GEICO and their “so easy a caveman could do it” slogan.
The idea behind the caveman advertising campaign was to demonstrate how easy GEICO’s website is to use. In the commercials, a voice states that using the website is “so easy, a caveman could do it.” The cavemen in the commercial are miffed that their character is being insulted, as they still manage to exist in today’s world, living as intelligent, urbanized bachelors. One of the goals of the advertisements is to take a subtle stab at today’s political correctness, according to Joe Lawson, as stated in an Esquire interview.
The Cavemen – Behind the Scenes
The actors Jeff Daniel Phillips and Ben Weber were the original cavemen, and they still play the roles to this day. Ben Wilson is another actor who has been seen as a caveman, but John Lehr is the most frequent actor to play the caveman. The cavemen are personified as having been able to somehow escape the peril of extinction. They have developed their more sophisticated sides, with interests in plasma televisions, racquet sports, and duck with mango salsa.
They have made more than 20 television ads, being featured doing various activities from playing tennis with Billie Jean King and attending therapy sessions, to partaking in a party at a high-rise apartment. The ads typically show the cavemen happily engaged in some activity, when the “so easy…” slogan inevitably shows up in one form or another, and the angered cavemen lose interest in what they were doing and want to exit the scene.
The Cavemen Appear
The cavemen debuted in 2004 in television commercials. They became so popular GEICO attempted a television sitcom spin-off in October 2007, but due to poor ratings the show was cancelled quietly a short time later after showing six episodes. As a follow-up, in February of 2008, the cavemen starred in a new series of television spots, making fun of the premise of the television show.
The cavemen have made and continue to make various other appearances. They did a short film, singing “Everything Happens to Me” rat-pack style. The film was shown in theaters, and was nominated for an advertising award. The cavemen have developed a cult-like following over time with independent blogs, websites such as GEICOCavemen.net and trivia games with questions about various commercials and what the cavemen did in each one, popping up all over the Internet. They have also appeared in commercials for ESPN and the National Hockey League among others, and they took part in a music video for the group 3 Doors Down, for the song “Let Me Be Myself.”
What Happened to the Gecko?
The gecko with the cockney accent is still a part of the GEICO advertising campaigns. The company is somewhat of an anomaly since it has several other successful branded characters currently being seen in various ads besides the cavemen. GEICO also uses a stack of money with eyes on it in some commercials, known as the buggy-eyed pile of Kash, as well as an actor asking rhetorical questions such as “could switching to GEICO really save you 15% or more on car insurance?” then following up with another “yes” question such as “did the Waltons take too long to say goodnight?” Talking objects such as a pothole and a fender are a newer addition to the company’s ad repertoire.
Do the Cavemen Drive?
Yes, the cavemen do drive. They were shown in a commercial riding up on two motorcycles in a television ad titled “Walkin.” In the ad, they spot two beautiful women and begin to approach them, until they catch sight of a billboard with the slogan they despise on it. They become disgusted and leave, to the chagrin of the two women.
Why use GEICO
Choosing an insurance company based strictly on entertaining commercials with suave, progressive cavemen or cute green geckos is not necessarily the best way to evaluate whether or not the company can really provide quality insurance. However, the good thing about GEICO is they have the quality products, an A++ financial strength rating from A.M. Best, superior ratings for customer advocacy, recognition for excellence in diversity, and the company is a leader in ethical business practices. On top of all of this, the company also offers great customer service and, most importantly, low rates on auto insurance.