Advertising / GEICO

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15 minutes can save you... well, you know.

GEICO’s advertising campaigns are well known for using strange off-the-wall or satirical humor, usually to reinforce an advertising slogan. GEICO has several mascots, the most famous of which is Gecko, the cute anthropomorphic lizard known for his trademark Australian Accent. Following the Gecko are the racially offended cavemen, Kash, the creepy stalking wad of cash with googly eyes, Michael McGlone, the Film Noir spokesman who asks rhetorical questions with the same answer to “Can GEICO really save you 15% or more on car insurance?” and lately Maxwell the Pig has cropped up in a slew of commercials as well (debuting in one of Mcglone's commercials, as a matter of fact).

GEICO now has its own YouTube channel, where you can watch some of their commercials online.

Recurring characters and segments:

  • The GEICO Gecko: Their original charming reptilian mascot. He would frequently promote GEICO while being in humorous situations.
    • He wasn't always so buddy buddy with the company however, in fact his first appearances (when he was played by Kelsey Grammer—yes, that Mr. Grammer) had him complaining about people confusing the word gecko for GEICO and informing them that they should call the insurer if they needed to save money on car insurance and stop calling him unless they, ya know, needed an actual gecko to do whatever it is that a talking gecko does...
  • Maxwell the Pig: A reoccurring character who's the little piggy who cried "weeee" all the way home and can fly (at least on a plane). Interestingly enough, Maxwell's commercials were a Spin-Off of the Michael Mcglone commercials.
  • "I've got good news". A character presents some bad news to another, then follows up with "I've got good news. I just saved 15% or more on my car insurance by switching to GEICO."
  • GEICO Cavemen: A group of Neanderthals living in modern time who are offended by GEICO's slogan: "So easy a caveman can do it." Spawned an extremely short-lived Sitcom called Cavemen on ABC.
  • Parodies
  • Blueprint commercials
  • My Great Rides
  • GEICO Racing
  • 15 Minutes Online
  • Not An Actor: Ads where a real GEICO customer gives a testimony while a renowned personality spices up their claim, such as Don Lafontaine or The Pips.
  • TRS: The Real Scoop: A satirical parody of E! True Hollywood Story documenting the lives of fictional characters, ending with how they saved hundreds in car insurance.
  • The money you could be saving: A series of ads involving a creepy wad of cash watches you to a cover of Rockwell's "Somebody's Watching Me" (performed by Mysto & Pizzi). It's the money you could be saving by switching to GEICO.
  • Talking inanimate objects
  • Rhetorical Questions Campaign: Commercials that feature Michael McGlone asking: "Could switching to GEICO really save you 15% or more on car insurance?" and answering with a rhetorical question and a comical Cutaway Gag.
  • Short Stories and Tall Tales
  • Xtranormal
  • Easier Way to Save
  • Get Happy, Get GEICO: These commercials show a humorous scene before two guys named Ronny and Jimmy ask how happy are people who switch to GEICO before referencing the scene.
  • Did You Know...?: This is one of their newer ones, with someone saying, "Did you know that GEICO can save you 15% or more on your car insurance?" The other person says yes and then says, "Did you know...", followed by a Little Known Fact. Then the scene cuts to a literal depiction of that.
  • Made of Money: A man made entirely of money rides by, presumably to imply that you too could be "made of money" if you save money by switching to GEICO. Seen only in the ads for GEICO motorcycle and boat insurance.
  • The Hump Day Camel, whose commercial (part of the "Get Happy" campaign) went viral. Also showed up in a "No Talking or Phones" Warning called "Movie Day!"
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle gave a special cameo appearance (in crisp, fresh animation, no less) in the commercial "The Gecko's Journey."
  • It's what you do: The newest spin, this one shows a scene of a regularly recurring thing, like a horror movie character making bad decisions, saying "If you're this, you do this. It's what you do." Followed by, "If you want to save 15% or more on car insurance, you switch to GEICO. It's what you do."
  • "Maybe you didn't contact Geico because...", a series of short jingles offering possible (yet outlandish) reasons for why a person didn't call Geico (dog buried the phone, or laptop stolen by a monkey, etc.).
  • "You can't skip this GEICO ad because it's already over." - a series of ad-bursts at only 5 seconds airing on services like YouTube or Hulu. If you actually want to view more, you can see extended versions online. A fake freeze frame gag usually follows.
  • "Proudly serving the military" - although it's not necessarily widely known, GEICO originated in specializing in insurance for those in the federal government and military. These ads will usually be trotted out on or around patriotic holidays.
  • "Expect great savings and a whole a lot more" - this less-seen campaign aims to remind watchers that there's more to GEICO's services than just saving 15%


GEICO commercials provide examples of:

  • All Cavemen Were Neanderthals: The whole gag with the Caveman commercials is that they have this facial structure, but are otherwise a fully assimilated minority group.
  • Answer Cut: The "Did you Know?" and "Rhetorical questions" campaigns.
  • Bad News, Irrelevant News: One series of ads was like this. A guy talks to someone else, saying "I've got bad news. [insert story here]...but I've got good news: I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to GEICO!" which of course is of no use whatsoever to the person hearing those words. "Switching To GEICO" was the original Trope name, in fact.
  • Bait and Switch: A variation on the Bad News, Irrelevant News series: parody ads for the promotion of fictitious products, anything from fast food to long-distance phone service to a reality TV show. After hyping the product in question and what they do, the parody ends thus: "But it won't save you any money on car insurance." Then the GEICO slogan appears, after which the commercial reverts back to the phony product with the announcer(s) declaring, "Why haven't you called GEICO?"
  • Being Watched: Kash, the wad of money. It's always follows you, and it's always watching you.
    Background Music: I always feel like somebody's watching me....
  • Breakout Character: Often—beginning with everyone's favorite Gecko. Then there's Maxwell the pig, who originally showed up in one of the Michael McGlone commercials. And then...the excited-about-"Hump-DAY!!!" camel.
    • Apparently, people thought the cavemen were this, too—hence the sitcom. Didn't catch on—and the company stuck to commercials.
  • Contemporary Caveman: Somehow, cavemen are a minority group.
  • Crossover: Yes, their ad campaigns meet. "Could switching to Geico really save you 15% on car insurance? Did cavemen invent fire?" *Caveman in modern house snaps fingers. Fireplace comes on.*
    • In an "It's what you do" ad, camels in a zoo are complaining that people keep yelling "Guess what day it is?" at them.
    • One of the Gecko's commercials featured a cameo appearance by the Taco Bell Dog.
    • People who switch to GEICO are happier than the Pillsbury Doughboy on his way to a baking convention.
    • The "let's go to the lobby" characters appeared in one "No Talking or Phones" Warning commercial.
    • The Gecko and Caleb The Camel appeared in an M&M's commercial.
    • And of course, several commercials featuring Looney Tunes characters.
    • Dora the Explorer and her monkey companion Boots are seen in one of the "It's what you do" ads, upsetting a group of explorers in a frigid wasteland who discover that they're too late to stake their claim.
    If you're Dora the Explorer, you explore. It's what you do.
  • Cutaway Gag: They go way out of their way for these.
    • The Get Happy, Get GEICO campaign inverts it; the gag sets up the description as the punchline.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Gecko.
  • Dissonant Serenity: If you're a golf commentator, you whisper. It's what you do. Even when a kraken is attacking the players.
  • Door Dumb: The "Push It" commercial opens with a guy pulling on a push door, then Salt-N-Pepa show up and sing "Push It."
  • Dualvertisement: In one commercial, the Gecko turns from promoting insurance to the benefits of Helzberg Diamonds. It's corporate synergy at work: Both companies are owned by Berkshire Hathaway.
  • Facepalm: The Gecko, when the company briefly considers using a campy cartoon version of him.
    "So you've turn me into a cartoon. Lovely."
    • Also, with the Gecko, Rocky and Bullwinkle. Rocky is the one who does the facepalm first. The Gecko just catches on to it.
    Rocky: Aww, come on, Bullwinkle. They're named after-
    Bullwinkle: First president George Rockington!
    *Rocky looks at Gecko*
    Gecko: That doesn't even make any sense, Mr. ...uh... Winkle.
  • Fantastic Racism: The cavemen really don't like the phrase "So easy a caveman can do it." Having to deal with casual prejudice is a focus of the show.
  • Has Two Thumbs and...: A radio ad has a man tell how he saves money by sending mail via pidgeon. After admitting that his mail usually doesnt end up at its assigned destination he says "...but who has two thumbs and isn't buying stamps? This guy!"
  • Hollywood Gecko: The Gecko, of course.
  • Implausible Deniability:
    • The in-commercial version of Geico claims they didn't know the cavemen were still around, even though the original commercial had the one offended be part of the film crew.
    • The pirate captain in the parrot commercial swears up-and-down that he never said any of the mean things about his crew that the parrot is saying, even though it's fairly obvious the parrot got it from him.
  • In a World: One ad of their "not an actor" campaign had a customer testimonial assisted by Don LaFontaine.
    "In a world where both our cars were totally underwater..."
  • Is the Answer to This Question "Yes"?: Michael McGlone's ads are centered around this trope.
  • It's Personal: In the spot where the mother calls her secret agent son, she says that the squirrels are back in the attic but his father refuses to call the exterminator.
    Mom: He says it's personal this time.
  • It's What I Do: Inverted: "If you want to save money on car insurance, you switch to Geico. It's what you do."
  • Large Ham: The Gecko in the flat tire ad.
    "SOMEONE HELP ME, I HAVE A FLAT TIRE!!!"
    • The camel, too, is especially fun to watch: "Guess what day it is!"
    • Bullwinkle, from the Rocky Mountains commercial (part of the Gecko's Journey), could also likely be considered for this trope.
  • Literal Genie: In one of the "Did You Know?" ads, a guy summons one of these and wishes for "a million bucks." He is given a million male deer.
  • Mascot: Several. The Gecko is the most famous.
  • Metafictional Device: To demonstrate that words really can hurt you, a character is knocked off a horse by giant words reading "The End"
  • Not in Front of the Parrot: One of their "It's what you do" commercials has a pirate captain's Pirate Parrot repeat his plans to hide the gold from his crew, as well as call them stupid and smelly.
    Announcer: If you're a parrot, you repeat stuff. It's what you do. If you want to save 15% on car insurance, you switch to GEICO. It's what you do.
    Parrot: Rawk! It's what you do!
  • Pocket Dial: This is featured in one of the "It's what you do" ads. A man is about to propose marriage to his girlfriend when suddenly the girlfriend's cell starts ringing. She answers it, but it's her brother Todd butt-dialing her, resulting in her and the boyfriend hearing cheering and screams from a baseball game. Then...
    Todd: I know we just met like two months ago...
    Woman at ball-game: Yes!!!
  • Real Trailer, Fake Movie: This is combined with a "No Talking or Phones" Warning in one of the "it's what you do" spots where a secret agent is chased up to a roof where there's a waiting helicopter, only to a phone call that turns out to be his mother, rambling on about some squirrels in the attic and asking if he's at a zumba class because there's so much noise.
    Announcer: If you're a mom, you call at the worst time. It's what you do.
  • The Scapegoat When something goes wrong on the peanut butter assembly line, you find a scapegoat. It's what you do.
  • Serious Business: The many different campaign setups can make it seem as though saving money on car insurance has become a serious thing.
  • Shout-Out: Both the Michael Mcglone ads and the Gecko ads have at times featured Looney Tunes characters.
  • Tagline: 15 minutes can save you 15% or more on car insurance. Or, 15% or more on "well, you know..." Also seen in web ads - "15%... need I say more?"
  • Take THAT Us: The Caveman commercials portray the company as casually racist towards cavemen, with the "dumb brute in a loincloth" portrayal of the in-universe ads being roughly equivalent to blackface.
  • Talks Like a Simile
    Ronny: "Jimmy, how happy are folks who save hundreds of dollars on car insurance?"
    Jimmy: "Happier than [insert inverse Cutaway Gag setup].”
  • The Un-Reveal: In one commercial, a question comes up as to whether the Gecko is British or Australian. The scene cuts out as he answers the question.
  • Timmy in a Well: In this commercial, a guy tries to get a cat to do this and, of course, fails.
    If you're a cat, you ignore people. It's what you do.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • One early campaign featured something like this; each animated short had a curious man doing something really dumb (like walking up to a cannon and then pressing a button next to it, causing the cannon to fire in his face), at which point the voiceover announcer would say, "We all do dumb things. Paying too much for car insurance doesn't have to be one of them."
    • Also, "Horror Movie". Even the Killer does an eye roll and has a look on his face that simply says "Yeah, these kids are so stupid they need to die".
  • What Were They Selling Again?: It's rare that any of their commercials actually says much about insurance. They are pretty good about actually naming the company, though.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Advertising/GEICO