How an Animated British Lizard Changed Advertising History
The GEICO Gecko is an interesting case study and has been the benchmark for brand awareness success in the advertising world since the turn of the century. The CGI character was voted America’s favorite advertising icon in 2005. The concept of the Gecko spokescreature was spawned during a creative session at GEICO’s ad agency, the Martin Agency.
“The name “GEICO” was often mispronounced “Gecko,” and as the brainstorming began, a quick doodle of a gecko appeared. Successful ad campaigns from the past have proven animals create a strong connection between customers and companies. With this in mind, the Gecko came to life and made his debut during the 1999-2000 television season.”
The auto insurance company has multiple spokescharacters featured in their advertising videos, and the Geico Caveman is almost equally memorable although more darkly comedic. Geico increased its marketing budget by 75% in 2004 to just over half a billion dollars annually, a bold move considering that no other industry peer was spending more than $275 million per year.
The risk came with great reward as Geico’s doubled budget actually translated to a doubling of its new customer acquisition as a result. The industry average new customer acquisition rate in 2006 was 2.1%, and Geico (then ranked 4th in market share) led the industry with 5.8% of prospective new customers choosing Geico over competitors.
The heavy spending and rapid growth in market share by Geico resulted in a branding frenzy amongst home and auto insurers. Auto insurance industry has since seen total marketing spending increase by over 35% since 2000. Geico topped last years numbers in spending again, with $1.1 Billion spent on advertising and is now ranked #2 in market share trailing only State Farm, who has led the industry since 1942.
If you are tasked with requesting a bigger marketing budget, have a British gecko remind your CFO that 15 minutes could save your company, by switching to heavy branding efforts.
(IMG via http://www.wickmarketing.com)