Geico’s Caveman campaign jumping the shark shouldn’t be news to anyone. The campaign started back in 2004 and effectively stopped being humorous after commercial four, which, as far as I can tell, came out in 2006 (see below – it’s still pretty perfect).
Yet Geico, for God-knows what reason (some sort of unprovoked Caveman loyalty?) keeps throwing money into a dead campaign. Not only that – they have completely abandoned intellect, humor, and creativity, and are now just making bad commercials and finding ways to sneak cavemen in them. I think if your marketing team can be accurately assessed as “just making bad commercials and finding ways to sneak cavemen in them,” your career has run its course.
One of the latest Geico commercials is the worst of them all. It’s horribly offensive to me – both as someone who works in marketing and as a human being who doesn’t want things to be awful and pointless. Here’s where I show you the clip, then break it down meticulously:
I’m going to make a conservative estimate here, just for the sake of this exercise, and say this commercial costs $300K to air during Sunday NFL games (I was going to say $250K, but we’re dealing with a 30 second ad, so this is just easier for everyone). The ad is 30 seconds long (just said that in the parenthetical in the last sentence – go back and check), which would put our rough per-second cost at $10K for the commercial. Now let’s break it down by the seconds:
:00-:02 – Staring at a guy’s back, $20K gone
:02-:07 – Establishing the plot point, which is awful, but necessary
:08-:10 – Defining the person the caveman is talking to, another $20K wasted
(This is really the part of the ad that gives me the most headaches. Tens of millions of losers play fantasy football every year – instead of Brian Orakpo, just get a cheap wide receiver who most people already know from fantasy football and can identify by just the player’s last name (Dwayne Bowe, Marques Colston, Anquan Boldin) and put a jersey with the player’s name hanging in his locker in the commercial. There’s your $20K back, Geico. You’re welcome.)
:10-:12 – Revealing that the caveman is dressed like a cheerleader. I guess that might be funny if you couldn’t already see the top half of his cheerleader outfit at the :02 mark, but again, a necessary point in the commercial. Money not horribly spent.
:12-:17 – Cheerleading coach comes in and throws the caveman his pom-poms. Total waste of time, he could have just been carrying them to begin the ad ($50K blown). Also, this brings me to my second breaking point of the commercial. The cheerleading coach is out looking for the caveman (who isn’t even a real cheerleader, yet the coach doesn’t seem to know this?), but everyone’s cool with (as previously established) an all-pro football player just hanging back in the locker room – why? So he can tape his wrists? What professional athlete tapes his/her own ANYTHING? I didn’t even tape anything up on my own when I was in high school. Get real, Geico.
:17-:20 – Caveman says this is embarrassing…okay, this could lead to something…
:20-:22 – Caveman reveals that his embarrassment stems from being on the bottom of the pyramid (yep, another $20K gone…and if you take the set-up into account it’s actually $50K). How could that possibly be embarrassing? The most embarrassing thing about being in a human pyramid, if you didn’t want to be seen, would be standing on the top of it. Right? Am I just going crazy here? There couldn’t be a less embarrassing place for you to be in the pyramid, caveman. And then you start thinking about how embarrassed he would be if he wasn’t big enough to be on the bottom and was smaller than a bunch of the girls… Why don’t you just burn your money next time, Geico?
:22-:30 – Tagline and bringing the product to the forefront. Again, necessary, though you definitely don’t need the full eight seconds for this when just seeing the caveman tells the majority of your audience that this is a Geico commercial.
Our grand total of wasted money each time this commercial airs: $140,000. That’s not even taking into account production costs or the mandatory eight second product identification segment at the end that only exists because there’s a commercial. Here’s a better idea for your money, Geico: hire a new marketing team.