As far as advertisers go, GEICO seems to have a lot of money devoted to their marketing department because they seem to advertise just about as much as any beer company. This seems to have worked out for them, if they do indeed insure more than 20 million drivers. Now GECIO has a wide range of different marketing campaigns, with different main characters or themes, which helps with brand recognition and helps keep them in your mind. And for things like that to happen, some very smart people tend to be paid some very good money in-order to try and convince you in about 30 seconds that maybe you should drink this brand of liquor or beer, eat at this place or that one, or in this case purchase this brand of car insurance over the others. A lot of research and studies go into many commercials and advertisements to see how they can be most effective to as wide of an audience in their target market. Marketing/advertising seems to make the world spin round, and after all, if it wasn’t for marketing/advertising many of the things we do, watch, or use couldn’t be free or at such a low cost. And GEICO is no exception; they know how to play the game.
Thus bringing me to the part of the blog I’d most like to focus on. If anyone watches T.V.; goes online; drives by a billboard; at some sort of event that calls for someone to dress up in a costume; or what have you, chances are you’ve seen this little GEICO Gecko at some point or another.
Sure his skin color is of no type of gecko I’ve ever seen, he can speak (in a soft British accent mind you) and has somehow mastered the ability to walk on two feet, probably making him the first of his kind to do all of these things. Bear in mind though that this very accomplished gecko he is there to do one thing and one thing only, compel you the audience to get a free rate quote to where hopefully GEICO can save you 15% or more on your car insurance. Now the GEICO Gecko is not the only character trying to convince you to use GEICO, but is surely one of the more recognizable ones and longer lasting ones which is why I’d like to focus on him. This little gecko has an accent but easy to understand, sophisticated, an animal, cute, and brings humor into play. This makes him very, very convincing! Whether you realize it or not, he has all the weapons he needs to make inquire how you can save that 15% or more, but at least stick in your head, maybe when you are ready for some car insurance. So where is the interactivity in all this, well it’s in you the audience members mind. Commercial-advertising is one medium that I find can have one of the best insights into ones cognitive ability. Take a look at this one GEICO commercial that I’d specifically like to focus on, and thanks to the GEICO Insurance page on YouTube, you can watch the GEICO Gecko Cartoon Commercial- Gecko Behind the Scenes.
This little commercial has a lot more going on with it, at least in my opinion. We see some sort of cooperate-head pitching a commercial to our celebrated friend; the commercial idea of course is a cartooned version of the GEICO Gecko himself. The corporate head says “Animation is hot… very compelling, very compelling”, the funny part and almost full of irony is that our beloved gecko is animated himself and we are being told what is good and what is convincing. We the consumer/audience is supposed to believe that this extremely talented gecko is real. Bringing the reading of Lynn Hershman into play, and how she quotes Freud and how “reality may be limited to perceptions that can be verified through words or visual codes” (645), and visual code is exactly what our little gecko is. Hershman then goes into a more cynical idea of how we are being brainwashed and alienated by media by having these millions of pictures being beamed into our homes (646). So since we as consumer/audience are seeing this commercial we are believing that this animated or I’ll use a synonym for this one, cartoon gecko is in-fact real. And the animators do a good job of making it look real to. Taking it a step further though, this commercial is entertaining, GEICO only has 30 seconds to capture the audience’s attention and leave its mark. Bucy tells us how when those with less cognitive abilities watch something, they enjoy it more when they don’t have to physically interact but can watch and be entertained and almost be told who and what to follow (378). This is exactly what this commercial in my opinion is doing. There is a weird vicious cycle, we the consumer/audience are being brainwashed into believing something is real and accepting it, then creating this need/want to save 15% or more on our car insurance just because we believe this commercial.
Another reason why I enjoy this little commercial is because it is self-reflexive, which to me is just another way of interaction with us. The GEICO Gecko stares and breaks the 4th wall looking at us with this discuss and says to the corporate head “So you’ve turned me into a cartoon?…(pause for rhetorical effect) lovely.” Though the gecko is a cartoon, it’s supposed to create a little humor I think for those who are a bit more cognitive in this self-reflection; kind of reminding me of the film The Weathered Underground.
Hershman, Lynn. The Fantasy Beyond Control
Bucy, Erik P. Interactivity in Society: Locating an Elusive Concept
Photo Courtesy of Hunch.com and Youtube.com