I haven’t been watching a lot of TV lately, but on Sunday I had the immense privilege of watching my Cleveland Browns lose their first game of the 2010-2011 season in rather typical Cleveland Browns fashion. In between screaming at my television, I saw a new Geico commercial. Perhaps you’ve seen it. The “CEO” is sitting at at able with the gecko, and they are surrounded by bobble-head geckos, gecko t-shirts, and other paraphernalia. The gecko says, “Shouldn’t we be talking about the fact that Geico can blah blah blah?” The CEO says, “Nah, I think we’re fine.” The gecko then says, “OK, as long as we don’t overdo it.” Meanwhile, a giant inflatable gecko is being loaded into the room.
The commercial was actually very interesting to me (sad what a career in marketing can do to you) not because it made me think of Geico as a company whose services I want to explore, but rather because it made me realize that maybe we are getting past the era in which gimmicks like the Gecko or the Aflac Duck are the best ways to advertise. It goes back to my blog post about how to save advertising. Do people want to see talking animals, or do they want you to tell them how you can help them?
It’s about the customer
One important thing I have learned from Beth Harte and our weekly IMCChats is that integrated marketing in its truest form can’t be realized until everyone realizes it’s all about the customer. I am noodling in my head whether the ads that I see that are easily recognizable (Flo for Progressive would be another one) are really more about these companies being on peoples’ minds. That’s about the company.
Is it easier to remember what a company does for you if there is a gimmick involved? Progressive lets you compare your rates. That’s about the customer. Geico saves you money and time. That’s customer oriented. The ads are essentially about solving problems. So, in that case, maybe the gecko and the duck are good things. But then again, maybe they would just be gimmicks if there wasn’t a central mission statement in all of the ads, or if the ads hadn’t been running for years and years.
What do you think? In an age when people barely give ads any time, is it time to mature and get straight down to the message, or is it better to entertain as well? What would be “overdoing it,” to reference Geico’s own commercial?
Let me know what you think!
Image credit: Found this at a site called stangnet.com. Ironically and not surprisingly, it was part of a forum focused on problems with Geico. Not sure who gets credit for the image.