Monday, July 27, 2009

A caveman's guide to branding.

Most branding campaigns follow a time-tested architecture: an overarching brand idea, supported by individual attributes, all communicated within the context of an unifying creative idea.

And that's what intrigues me about Geico's brand campaign -- it is completely disintegrated. The insurer uses at least four distinct campaigns to land different proof points.

To be sure, Geico's overall goal is to position itself as a better value. Its USP has been unchanged for years: "15 minutes can save you 15% or more."

It uses the lovably cheeky gecko to communicate the overall value message.



It uses the caveman with a chip on his shoulder to to communicate ease and convenience.



It uses celebs right off the D-list to communicate its commitment to customer service.



And now it is using a leering pile of cash to communicate low price.


We've all seen campaigns with different spots in the mix (think McDonald's), or different campaigns tailored for specific media environments (think Nike in football vs. basketball vs. golf), or campaigns for different products within a portfolio (think Toyota Tundra vs Yaris).

But seldom do we see completely different campaigns in support of different support points.

Contrary to what one might expect -- i.e., a blurry cacophony of messages -- each of Geico's messages breaks through and stands on its own feet, is unified by a brand personality that is likable and humorous and, ultimately, supported by the 15% USP.

Is it working? I can only assume so, because Geico has pursued this model for years. We have to assume the graphs are heading in the right direction or they would have abandoned this funky model years ago.

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