Innovation. Ideas. Insight.

Geico – Narrative Dissonance

In DINU on July 10, 2008 at 10:13 am

I’ve written about Geico in the past, admiring their ability to maintain multiple personalities. However, the latest Caveman ads have me scratching my head.  Geico has spent a lot of time creating a Deeply Immersive Narrative Universe (DINU) in which the Cavemen are smart, uber-hip guys. Roast duck with mango salsa, anyone?  Now, take a look at this new ad:



Now the Caveman is just another dorky white dude that can’t dance. What happened to this guy:


So cool he uses an old school wooden racket.


So, for me at least, there is narrative dissonance. I’m invested in the concept, through the commercials and even the TV show, that the Cavemen were cool dudes. Now, I’m not sure. Do I want to buy car insurance from guys who dance badly (like me?).

Let’s go back to the original premise, as reported by Rob Walker in April of last year. Here’s how the campaign concept was described by Steve Bassett, of the Martin Agency, who created the ads:

[T]hree well-dressed cavemen hang around their sleek, urban apartment. “Obviously, they’re with today’s technology,” he [Steve Bassett] says matter-of-factly, “so they’re on their laptops.” They see a Geico ad — and they’re insulted. The third spot was at a nice restaurant, where a Geico spokesman apologizes to two urbane and plainly appalled cavemen. Funny.

See, much different than the awkward, white-guy-at-a-wedding Caveman we see in the most recent ads. Geico’s brand is very strong, so I don’t imagine there will be a big impact from this narrative dissonance, but I hope we see a return to the cool Caveman we came to love.


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