Who's Watching You?

Kash How do you know if your ads are good or bad? Does it really matter?

What really matters is that someone notices and the customer remembers you — enough to buy.

Some things I just don’t always get. Or let’s say I just don’t get it quick enough. One of them is the GEICO "Kash" campaign. Don’t get me wrong, I am fascinated by the campaign, I just don’t know if it changes my ideas about insurance.

The Martin Agency is the brains behind the Kash idea. In a nutshell, the campaign shows a creepy-looking stack of money with eyeballs staring at you — seemingly to indicate the money you could have saved had you been a GEICO customer. In the commercial, a roofer tells another roofer that he’s being watched or “scoped out” (by a girl, he thinks). Of course the roofer is being scoped out by a creepy stack of GEICO money.

In this one, a man stops for directions and he notices a GEICO stack of money looking at him from the fence. The man looks and says, “Poor fella. He must have been following you for miles. Looks tired.” Everyone is creepy and it makes you think twice before asking for directions on a lonely highway. The interesting thing about these spots is that they are so random.

In another commercial, a businessman is distracted during a meeting when a squeaking noise diverts his attention. It's Kash, who appears on a window-washer platform. "That's the money you could be saving with Geico," explains a co-worker. And finally, in another ad, a woman spends more time flirting with Kash than her date. All commercials end with a remake of the '80s Rockwell hit "Somebody's Watching Me."

Okay, so the character represents the average national savings consumers get from using GEICO, which is supposedly $500. According to Mike Lear, associate creative director at The Martin Agency, an IPG shop in Richmond, Va., "Geico loves to talk about savings, that's their recurring theme. We just dumbed it down to the most basic thing in the world, 'I want more money.'"

With the song, of course Geico wants you to hear it and think of GEICO. Kash now joins the animated gecko, the surly caveman and the consumer/celebrity testimonials. This all translates to $595 million in advertising dollars, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

That's quite the chunk of change.

Okay, so many of us haven’t been smart about our money and of course now we all know it. Don’t get me wrong, I think the commercials are funny, and I feel “empathy” for the cavemen, but I actually haven’t gone and compared my existing insurance rates with GEICO.

Have you?


Stanford Daily
Ad Week

3 thoughts on “Who's Watching You?”

  1. Martin’s approach to the Geico campaign has been intriguing because it goes against conventional wisdom by “diluting” a consistent message with multiple ones. But Martin has contented that because auto insurance is needed across demographics, one campaign would not appeal to the spectrum of potential customers. Especially in an industry with a 10% annual churn.
    So we get Kash, Cavemen, a gecko, celebrity interpreters, a Tiny House, et. al.
    Seems to be working though. Geico’s market share has risen from 1.2% in 2002 to 7.2% last year, according to the figures I found.
    Nice post, Lis.

  2. Lisbeth Calandrino

    Hi Wayne, thank you for the update on Geico. An increase in market share from 1.2% to 7.2% is substantial. Unconventional seems to be the thought for the day with Facebook, Twitter and blogs and let’s not forget YouTube. Lis

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