Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Missing: Geico Gecko

If you don't know what the Geico Gecko is you've been living in a hole somewhere. It's one of the most brilliant advertising campaigns concocted in recent years. It ranks right up their with Life Cereal and Mikey.

But Geico is giving the gecko a break by using real customers and paid, somewhat washed up, celebrities in their newest ad campaign. My impression of this new campaign is that I like it.

But sometimes in these high budget attention grabbers you have to question the legitimacy of the face value. Sure they say these are real customers, but are they really?

I got that answer on Tuesday.

That was Brenda Coates. This is her Geico commerical. She is an administrative assistant at High Point University and she is a regular Geico customer.

She sits alongside Burt Bacharach in her commercial and he tickles the ivories and sings little quips after she says her lined.

I had the good fortune to interview Ms Coates and get the skinny on her free trip to Hollywood to shoot the 30 second spot.

She was amazed at the size of the production, listing off for me the number of trailers and trucks and crewmenbers all spread out along a residential street in a rented house just to spend a day shooting a one take 30 second ad.

She even asked them how many commercials they were doing that day when she saw the in depth production setup. They quickly told her that day was all for her.

She found herself in this position when she was rear ended by a Geico customer and she was ultra pleased with the way Geico treated her and her damaged car.

She said the first thing she thought of when they guy who rear ended her told her who his insurance was, was the little green lizard!

She wrote a thank you letter to the company and received a personal 'You're Welcome' from Warren Buffet (yes the billionare).(Berkshire Hathaway owns Geico)

She switched her auto insurance to Geico and the marketing people got wind of the whole story and it fit into their new campaign.

In June they flew her to Hollywood, gave her some spending money and now she's a national star.

Look out Chris Daughtry.

No comments: