Who doesn’t love Geico ads? You know, the ones with the celebrities and the consumers? Or maybe the ones with the talking lizard. Or the cavemen. Or the older ones that looked like fake Fox reality shows.
Wait a second, that’s four distinct concepts, all done with a startling level of depth and consistency. Isn’t Geico breaking some serious marketing law here? You can’t possibly create four different campaigns, and then run them virtually concurrently, speaking to the same audience. And yet, Geico must be doing something right, Warren Buffett is a big investor.While the Gecko may be the most ubiquitous, the Cavemen have really developed into a Deeply Immersive Narrative Universe (DINU). From a super-clever website, Caveman’s Crib, to an ABC television show, these guys became part of pop culture (try typing roast duck mango salsa into Google).
Most companies would be pretty excited with a hit like this. But Geico has another powerhouse with the Gecko. Now, I understand when a brand like Nike creates multiple advertising campaigns. They are speaking to a variety of audiences – women, young kids, skateboarders, weekend warriors, etc. But the Geico customer is a narrower group. And from a tonality standpoint, are the different Geico campaigns that different? Are there people who love the Cavemen, but think a talking lizard is dumb? Are there people who like fake reality show spoofs, but find the idea of the Four Tops singing in your bedroom absurd?
I see the benefits for Nike in creating multiple DINUs. I could even see it for Geico (one for men, one for women, one for first time drivers, one for 50+…). But that’s not my take-away from the current Geico ads, they all seem to appeal to a broad audience and it seems to be working. Puzzling. Are they an exception that proves a rule?