GEICO advertising campaigns are known for using surreal humor and satire, often featuring distinctive characters such as the company's mascot, the GEICO gecko. The advertising strategy incorporates a saturation-level amount of print (primarily mail circulars) and television parody advertisements, as well as radio advertisements. A common line used by GEICO is "15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance."
Investor Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of GEICO parent Berkshire Hathaway, has stated that he would spend $2 billion on GEICO ads if he could, approximately double the spending in 2012, which was $1.1 billion, over twice that of second place Progressive Corporation, with 6.8% of premiums going into commercials. In 2016, GEICO was the top spending brand in the United States, with over $1.4 billion in advertising, ousting second place Verizon and previous leader AT&T. However, this is offset by not paying agents commissions, since GEICO uses a direct to consumer model. This has resulted in GEICO being the second largest auto insurer in the United States (behind State Farm).
Many of the most prominent TV ad campaigns, such as the GEICO Gecko, the GEICO Cavemen, the Rhetorical Questions campaign featuring Mike McGlone, Maxwell the Pig, and the GEICO Hump Day Camel were developed by The Martin Agency.
Maps, Directions, and Place Reviews
Animated advertisements were part of the early GEICO Direct ads as well as the "Dumb Things" campaign. The 15-second long commercials, animated by Bill Plympton, featured a curious little man walking up to an object and eventually getting hurt due to his curiosity of the object. One of the commercials, for example, involved him finding a cannon and pressing a button, causing a resulting cannonball to fire out and stick to his face. The original saying in the commercial was "You could still save money on car insurance. Even if you made a few mistakes."; later modified to "We all do dumb things. Paying too much for car insurance doesn't have to be one of them."
Geico Painting Video
The company's ads sometimes focus on its reptilian mascot, The Gecko, an anthropomorphic Day Gecko created by The Martin Agency, modified in 2005 to a CGI character by Animation Director David Hulin and his team at Framestore. The gecko first appeared in 1999, during the Screen Actors Guild strike that prevented the use of live actors. The original commercial features the Gecko, voiced by actor Kelsey Grammer, who climbs onto a microphone on a podium and utters "This is my final plea: I am a gecko, not to be confused with GEICO, which could save you hundreds on car insurance. So, STOP CALLING ME!", before licking his eye. Later "wrong number" ads used Dave Kelly as the voice of the gecko. In the subsequent commercials with Jake Wood (which portray him as a representative of the company), the gecko speaks with a British Cockney accent, because it would be unexpected, according to Martin Agency's Steve Bassett. In 2010s commercials, the gecko's accent is more working-class, perhaps in an effort to further "humanize" him. "As computer animation got better and as we got to know the character better, we did a few things," says Steve Bassett, creative director at The Martin Agency. "We wanted to make him a little more guy-next-door. And he looks a lot more real than he's looked before." Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former president Bill Clinton and then-Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, interviewed the Geico Gecko in April 2013. He had since became GEICO's longest running mascot, appearing in more than 150 commercials as of 2017.
Maxwell the pig
Maxwell is an anthropomorphic talking pig and recurring character in GEICO advertisements. Maxwell debuted in an installment of the Rhetorical Questions campaign as the "little piggy who cried 'wee wee wee' all the way home" (referencing the famous nursery rhyme "This Little Piggy") being driven home by a friend's mother, squealing along the way. While Maxwell was originally intended as a one-time character, the popularity of his debut commercial resulted in him being spun off into his own series of commercials which usually feature him as a tech-savvy, informative pig who is most concerned with his GEICO-related objects.
A popular series of well-received advertisements uses cavemen as pitchmen. Also developed by the Martin Agency, the ads center on Neanderthal-like cavemen, no different from modern-day individuals (outside of somewhat prehistoric facial features), encountering either an ad or commercial with the tagline "GEICO: so easy a caveman could do it," followed by their disgust with the supposed stereotype of caveman stupidity. The ads posit a world where cavemen are still alive and active members of society in the present day, behaving and living nothing at all like the stereotypical caveman. The main characters presented in the ads are affluent, educated, and cultured, eating at fancy restaurants, going to exclusive parties, and seeing their therapists (portrayed in the commercials by two-time Oscar-nominated actress Talia Shire). The humor revolves around the relative normality of the cavemen's presence and their reactions to the stereotype represented in the ads, and their attempts at defending themselves from the stereotype.
The ads were so successful that the commercial actors are appearing in a successful series of interactive websites written and produced by GEICO's in-house creative team at Caveman's Crib and most recently, iHeartcavemen. A spin-off TV series, titled Cavemen and starring new actors, debuted on ABC in October 2007 to overwhelmingly negative critical reaction. It was canceled after only six episodes were aired.
Another common theme is misdirection, in which the commercial appears to be about an unrelated product (or, in fact, may not even be a commercial), suddenly changing to become a plug for GEICO. The commercials use a variety of fictional characters such as Speed Racer, Chatty Cathy, Jed Clampett, and Bill Dutchess. Other commercials relate to a hair loss doctor who has saved by switching to GEICO, a nature show about a fish, workout with Tony Little, and a soap opera of a couple who are breaking up. Another set of GEICO ads involved a fictional reality show called "Tiny House" in which contestants were forced to live in a half-scale house.
An additional commercial theme is the promotion of fictional products. In 2006 parody ads featured such products as long distance phone service, tomato soda, fast-food, a reality TV show, dolls, and even poking fun at the Old Navy commercials - in all cases, the parody portion of the ad ends with "but it won't save you any money on car insurance." After the GEICO slogan is heard, the commercials end with "Why haven't you called GEICO?" Including Wonder Glue.
The parody pitch crossed over to the Caveman campaign in 2007, in a 10-second spot that appears to be a talking heads news interview, but features the popular caveman.
In response to some of the parody ads, Seth Green and Matthew Senreich wrote a sketch using the character C in a parody of one of the celebrity ads for their second Robot Chicken Star Wars special.
MADtv also made a sketch parodying these ads using characters of Elmo (who was performed by Frank Caeti) and Carlos Mencia (who was played by Johnny Sanchez).
Actor Scott Whyte has made a series of commercial parodies, calling the company, "Schmeiko", while performing a series of impressions.
"I've got good news"
In another ad campaign, a character would be breaking bad news to another (such as a baseball manager replacing a struggling pitcher with a reliever), but then offers helpfully, "I've got good news: I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to GEICO!" That news, of course, is of no immediate use at all to the other character(s). Some of the ads were parodies and/or featured celebrities including, for example, Esteban; one featured the popular anime character Speed Racer. The exchange became parodied for a time while the ads were popular. One of the most watched "I've got good news" spots was a soap opera parody featuring television actor Sebastian Siegel.
In another series of ads, a GEICO pitchman is played by actor Jerry Lambert in an extremely bland and understated way, parodying the stereotype of an insurance man, such as reading to a group of uninterested children from a book of fairy tales about insurance. In one segment, he reads a supposed e-mail from a viewer saying it would be "da bomb" (i.e., something good), if the Gecko would do a dance called "The Robot". Cut to the Gecko doing that dance smoothly and gracefully (to the tune of a not-for-public-sale melody called "Sweet World" by a group called Omega Men, which was used in the arcade video game In the Groove 2) and then back to the insurance salesman attempting to do the same dance, seemingly more stiffly than an actual robot would. The newest commercial featuring the GEICO gecko depicts the Gecko receiving a business suit from the salesman, in order to present a more professional appearance, but he declines.
"Real service, real savings"
In this campaign, a real GEICO customer would present his/her testimonials, while a celebrity standing next to, or behind, the customer uses his/her signature styles to help get the customer's word across.
Some of these celebrities included:
The slogan exclusive to this campaign is "GEICO: Real service, real savings".
My Great Rides
In 2007, GEICO also launched a social networking site, My Great Rides, for motorcycle owners. My Great Rides is a place for cycle owners to share stories about trips they have taken on their bikes, as well as post pictures of their motorcycles, and comment on other members' stories and pictures. My Great Rides was taken down on 27 February 2012.
The number 7 car of the NASCAR Nationwide Series is driven by Mike Wallace and was sponsored by GEICO prior to 2009. Commercials involving the race team are of a memorably disdainful young boy, played by actor Eddie Heffernan claiming to be a relative of Mike Wallace and being a better driver. The boy says, "When people see Mike Wallace and the GEICO number 7 doing well, they'll think of saving a bunch of money on car insurance. But when they see me, they'll say, 'There goes Lauren Wallace; the greatest thing to ever climb into a race car.'"
The commercials are sometimes presented in an interview fashion, where an unseen narrator speaks to the ambitious go-kart driver. "What do you think of Mike Wallace?" the child is asked, to which he responds, "Whatever, he's out there selling car insurance, I'm out there to win." When questioned on his relation to the NASCAR driver, Lauren shakes his head and concludes, "I didn't say I wouldn't go fishing with the man, all I'm saying is if he comes near me, I'll put him in the wall." To which the narrator questions him, "You don't race in the Busch Series." Lauren replies "Listen, go-kart track, grocery store, those remote controlled boats; when it comes to Mike Wallace the story ends with me putting him in the wall."
New ads in this lineup include Lauren referring to himself as being, "100 miles away and ready to strike," and "lightning in a bottle."
The success of those ads resulted in the launch of an interactive website written and produced by GEICO's in-house creative team at GEICO Garage. The site includes cameo appearances by Lauren Wallace and drivers Mike Wallace, his daughter Chrissy Wallace, Speed TV's Tommy Kendall, Paul Tracy, Christian Fittipaldi and Max Papis.
TRS: The Real Scoop
Introduced in 2 August 2007, this series of ads features an E! True Hollywood Story-type show about famed fictional characters such as Fred Flintstone, Jed Clampett, and even a Cabbage Patch Kid named Ben Winkler claiming to have their cars (the Flintmobile, Jed's 1923 Oldsmobile truck, and a Plymouth Reliant/Dodge Aries, respectively) insured by GEICO, featuring interviews with made-up investigators (however, the Ben Winkler spot does not have an interview). These commercials were voiced over by narrator David O'Brien.
"The money you could be saving"
Starting in 2008, GEICO has aired a series of TV ads featuring two paper-banded stacks of U.S. bills with a pair of big, googly eyes on top. Kash, who never says anything, just sits and stares at people (in a manner intended to be unsettling), set to a remix of a Rockwell/Michael Jackson song, "Somebody's Watching Me" by Mysto & Pizzi.
Rhetorical question campaign
Toward the end of 2009 until mid 2012, GEICO introduced another advertising campaign in which Mike McGlone walks into an empty room and queries the viewer, "Could switching to GEICO really save you 15% or more on car insurance?" After this, he pauses and then asks a rhetorical and/or obvious question which is immediately followed by a scene cut to the subject at hand. Such questions have included (in no particular order):
- Is Ed "Too Tall" Jones too tall?: (Cuts to Jones in a doctor's office being measured for his height, even though he is too tall for the maximum length of the measure. The nurse then says, "I'm just gonna guesstimate.")
- Does Charlie Daniels play a mean fiddle?: (Cuts to Daniels energetically playing a fiddle in a classy restaurant after taking it from a violinist. Once he finishes, he hands it back and states "That's how you do it, son".)
- Does Elmer Fudd have trouble with the letter R?: (Cuts to Elmer hunting and telling the audience to be "vewy quiet" while he's "hunting wabbits", the director correcting his rhotacism to the former's frustration, and eventually stalking off the screen while muttering about how "this diwector is starting to wub (him) the wong way".)
- Did The Waltons take way too long to say good night?: (Cuts to the Walton family saying "good night" to each other numerous times.)
- Does a ten-pound bag of flour make a really big biscuit?: (Cuts to a child buttering an enormous biscuit on the kitchen counter humming as his mom walks in with a dismayed look upon her face.)
- Did the caveman invent fire?: (Cuts to the GEICO caveman sitting in a living room on a couch with a female companion. He looks disdainfully at the camera, then activates the fireplace by remote control before scowling at the camera once more.)
- Was Abe Lincoln honest?: (Cuts to an old-style black and white film of Mary Todd Lincoln asking "Does this dress make my backside look big?" After a lengthy pause and deliberation, Lincoln sheepishly responds, saying "Perhaps a ...", interrupted as she gets up and walks out perturbed.)
- Is having a snowball fight with pitching great Randy Johnson a bad idea?: (Cuts to Johnson helping a man to his feet, the latter with a hole in the arm of his jacket, in a snowy street. After lamenting the heavily damaged garage door behind them, they agree to go sledding instead.)
- Is a bird in the hand worth two in the bush?: (Cuts to an Antiques Roadshow appraiser examining a small statue of a human hand holding a bird. He tells the statue's owner that it is indeed worth at least two in the bush.)
- Can fútbol announcer Andrés Cantor make any sport exciting?: (Cuts to Cantor loudly and energetically calling a slow-paced chess match. When one player makes a move, he yells his trademark "GOOAAALLL!" much to the players' annoyance)
- Does a former drill sergeant make a terrible therapist?: (Cuts to R. Lee Ermey talking to a man on a psychiatrist's couch, then abruptly yelling at him for crying and then throws a box of tissues at him, calling him a crybaby.)
- Do woodchucks chuck wood?: (Cuts to a jovial pair of woodchucks throwing chopped logs into a pond and being admonished by the farmer who chopped them.)
- Did the little piggy cry 'wee wee wee' all the way home?? (Cuts to a pig named Maxwell riding in the back seat of an SUV holding pinwheels, yelling "wee wee wee" out the window, before being dropped off at his house by his friend's exasperated mother.) (See section Maxwell the Pig)
- Does it take two to tango?: (Cuts to a man and woman dancing the tango while another man tries to dance with them.)
- What, do you live under a rock?: (Cuts to a man living underground who moves a rock so he can raise his head above ground to see outside, and then gets excited when he sees a GEICO billboard and invites his friend Rick to move his own rock and take a peek.)
- Does the buck stop here?; (The camera zooms out as a deer walks onto the soundstage and stops next to McGlone, who then shrugs his shoulders.)
- Do dogs chase cats?: (Cuts to a dog and cat engaged in a Bullitt-style car chase.)
- Would Foghorn Leghorn make a really bad book narrator?: (Cuts to a recording studio where Foghorn is reading A Tale of Two Cities - his ad-libbing and talking over the director cause an exasperated Henery Hawk to get up from the control panel and whack him with a club.)
- Is the pen mightier than the sword?: (Cuts to a ninja menacingly demonstrating his swordsmanship to his opponent, who countermaneuvers by using a pen to sign for the delivery of his new taser, with which he promptly dispatches the ninja.)
- Do people use smartphones to do dumb things?: (Cuts to three office workers using very silly smartphone apps to help celebrate the end of the workweek.)
- Would helium make opera sound less stuffy?: (Cuts to male opera singer singing in a deep voice, then inhaling helium, and continuing in a high-pitched voice.)
- Do mimes make even less sense when you can't see them?: (Cuts to a narrator describing a mime pretending to be inside an invisible box.)
- Is sneaking out of a really boring meeting while wearing tap shoes a bad idea?: (Cuts to a boring meeting with tap shoes in the background, until the boss catches on.)
- Does a rolling stone gather no moss?: (Cuts to the sound of a boulder rolling through various things until it crashes to a stop, with McGlone then saying, "No moss - you're gonna have to trust me on this one.")
- Do only dogs hear dog whistles?: (Cuts to the sound of someone breathing in, then blowing in a dog whistle a few times, before being interrupted by several barking dogs.)
- If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a noise?: (Cuts to the sound of a tree falling and crashing, with McGlone then saying, "Yep.")
- Is texting getting way out of hand?: (McGlone then begins to elaborate, but is interrupted and distracted by several incoming texts, ultimately responding to one message with "LOL, UR my BFF.")
Short Stories and Tall Tales
Starting in 2010, there have been TV commercials in which a nursery rhyme, being read to the audience from an illustrated book entitled Short Stories and Tall Tales, turns into an ad for GEICO homeowner's and renters insurance:
- In one, the cow who jumped over the moon crashes down through someone's roof; luckily, the owner was insured with GEICO.
- In another, Jack Be Nimble accidentally knocked over a candlestick onto the shagged carpeting and insured with GEICO because of his flaming pants, his new pants are bought from Banana Republic.
- In another, Baa Baa Black Sheep got three bags of wool taken and insured GEICO, but the hooligan down the lane is caught, selling the stolen goods online.
- In another, the Itsy Bitsy Spider's home is flooded as a result of a clogged downspout, and his mattress is ruined; thanks to GEICO, he now has a "Sleep Number" bed. His sleep number is 25.
- Little Jack Horner sat in a corner on a department and insured GEICO with renters insurance, it turns out Little Jack Horner got his stomach pumped because of eating a 6-month-old Christmas pie.
- Little Bo Peep accidentally broke into her apartment and got her sheep stolen.
- A burglar breaks into Little Miss Muffet's house and steals her tuffets, which were fortunately insured. The burglar was later caught, given away by a whey stain.
- Goldilocks breaks into the home of the Three Bears, eats some porridge, breaks a chair, and steals their laptop. Thanks to GEICO insurance, the Bears are able to replace their things, including a new chair from Crate & Barrel.
- After his straw house is blown away by the Big Bad Wolf, the Little Pig is able to build a more elaborate straw house thanks to GEICO homeowner's insurance. The Wolf then gets a job blowing at a wind farm.
- Hansel and Gretel
- An old woman who lived in a shoe buys groceries when burglars broke into her shoe and avoids stolen things with juice press for GEICO Homeowners Insurance, then gets a job for the Mountain Bike Juice Delivery Service.
Near the end of 2010, a new advertising campaign began made up of amateurish computer animated advertisements, supposedly made in 15 minutes, created with the computer software program Xtranormal.
"Easier Way to Save"
Starting in the summer of 2011, a new series of advertising involved people discovering unusual ways to save money.
- A couple teaching their 6-year-old son how to dunk a basketball in order to help him get a scholarship, with him getting stuck on the basket.
- A dog and a cockatoo playing A-Ha's "Take on Me" because their owner can't afford to keep downloading music.
- A sea captain living as a roommate, rehearsing "Major-General's Song."
- A woman turning her daughter's pet fish into her husband's meal.
- Robots hired in a daycare center because they "work for free".
- Three guinea pigs rowing their boat to produce electricity for their owner's computer.
- A couple adopting a black rescue panther who can protect their house.
- A man singing a personal ad to the tune of Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" because dating websites cost too much money.
- Three middle school girls criticize on what the man is eating, only to watch his weight.
- A family forming their own theme park.
- Boy Scouts using paintball guns to decorate a couple's living room.
- A man adopting a pet possum for his kids, as a cheaper alternative to a puppy.
- A man who tries to cut his wife's hair, while she sleeps, instead of going to the hairstylist.
- A man who can only rely on toll-free numbers.
- A man consolidating his 5 daughters' weddings into one day.
- A woman carpooling with her daughter's school bus.
- An umpire who cannot pay for his contacts, using the lost pair of eyeglasses he found.
- A man turning his bathroom shower into an amusement attraction, instead of taking his family to an amusement park.
- A man using carrier pigeons to send letters because of the high cost of postage stamps.
- A man who can't spend money on the Internet for his home, thus using his neighbor's unprotected connection.
- A woman who is dreaming of being in Machu Picchu because she cannot buy airline tickets.
This campaign shows two people in a sticky situation. One of them is not as worried as the other, explaining "I'm looking on the brighter side. I save over 15% on my car insurance by switching to GEICO." Commercials from this campaign include:
- A magician feels guilty for sawing his assistant in half.
- A woman and her neighbor observe a fallen giant in the middle of her garden.
- Two fisherman are being abducted by aliens and fear what the aliens are going to do with them.
- Divers have been swallowed by a whale.
"Get Happy, Get GEICO"
From early-2012 to early 2013, GEICO had a family of commercials where bluegrass pickers named Ronnie (played by director/musician Alex Harvey) and Jimmy (played by actor/comedian Timothy Ryan Cole) talk about how happy saving money on insurance can make someone do certain things intended to be humorous:
- Happier than Gallagher at a Farmer's market: Gallagher runs amok at a farmer's market, smashing watermelons with a huge mallet and laughing maniacally.
- Happier than a Bodybuilder Directing Traffic: A smiling bodybuilder is standing in an intersection and directing traffic while striking poses. This was the last commercial from the Get Happy, Get GEICO series to ever come on TV, having last aired on 19 March 2016.
- Happier than Christopher Columbus with Speedboats: Christopher Columbus is shown on a speeding motoboat, accompanied by two other boats, while a crew member looks seasick.
- Happier than Eddie Money running a travel agency: A family is shown sitting in front of a desk in an office. An excited Eddie Money is then shown behind the desk holding airline tickets, where he begins singing (a cappella), "Two Tickets to Paradise" while the family appears increasingly annoyed.
- Happier than a Witch at a Broom Factory: A witch is seen flying around on a broom inside of a broom factory. She lands and demands another broom from one of the employees and begins flying again, laughing and having fun.
- Happier than a Slinky on an Escalator: A Slinky is seen stepping backwards on an up escalator. While the Slinky goes backwards, others try to avoid it as they go to work and the slinky says "This is Awesome!"
- Happier than an Antelope with Nightvision Goggles: Two antelopes are seen watching a lion through nightvision goggles. The two are secretly laughing at the lion and his poor stealth skills (they incorrectly and sarcastically label the lion as "king of the jungle" - the correct term is "king of beasts").
- Happier than Dikembe Mutombo Blocking a Shot: Dikembe Mutombo appears blocking various things that people throw, such as a crumpled piece of paper, a pile of laundry, and a box of cereal. The GEICO Logo then appears and Mutombo knocks off the "G". It's "EICO" now.
- Happier than Paul Revere with a Cell phone: Paul Revere who is inside a home in Concord, Massachusetts, notices a bell ringing from a church. As he looks out the window, he calls on his cell phone and warns that the British are coming. Afterwards, he returns to his guests and plays charades.
- Happier than Dracula Volunteering at a Blood Drive: At a blood drive, Dracula Actor Frankie Ray asks a man his blood type and what he ate today. The man replies either A or B positive and that he ate Lebanese food. Dracula says that he loves the Lebanese. He then excitedly decides to skip the formalities and "get started". He is then seen following the man out at the end.
- Happier than the Pillsbury Doughboy on his way to a Baking Convention: At an airport, the Pillsbury Doughboy is going through airport security, but every time the security guard tries to pat him down, he is easily tickled. He promises to hold it together, but keeps failing. Once he gets on his way, the Doughboy sings along as Ronny and Jimmy continue playing the guitar.
- Happier than a Camel on Wednesday/Hump Day: At an office, a camel asks workers what day it is. A woman (originally named Leslie) tells him that it is Hump day. The camel whoops with excitement. This commercial soon received over 22 million views on YouTube and inspired a popular Internet meme. The camel appeared in the pregame show of Super Bowl XLVIII where he was named Caleb. Caleb also appeared with the Gecko in a crossover ad with M&M's.
Museum of Modern Insurance
This campaign involves paintings in a museum encouraging their fellow paintings to switch to GEICO.
- A mountain climber in an "ACHIEVEMENT" motivational picture feels accomplished for climbing the mountain. The cat in the painting beneath says he saved hundreds on car insurance with GEICO, and draws a question mark next to "ACHIEVEMENT".
- An excited cat tells a mouse on a teeter-totter that he saved a bunch on car insurance with GEICO, and that they should celebrate. The mouse thinks this is a bad idea. The cat launches the mouse into the air and prepares to eat him, but is beaten to it by an eagle in the motivational picture above.
- A teacher asks his student to fill in the blank: "Fifteen Minutes could save you [blank] on car insurance." The student answers 9%, which the teacher says is incorrect and asks his pterodactyls, Steve and Rick, to "go to work," to which the student replies "Not again!".
- A painting of Washington crossing the Delaware River notices a cat in front of them, and proceeds to ask the cat to get out of the way, claiming he doesn't want her to scratch the vessel, "for [he is] drifting, uninsured." She tells him that he needs to get insured right "meow," via calling GEICO. Her torso then falls off the painting to reveal a phone keypad, and one of the rowers pushes the buttons with his oar.
- Dogs player poker ask for their friend called Rudy/Mr.Tickles, who is in a photo of him and his owner. The owner saved so much money by switching to GEICO that he wanted a photo to commemorate the occasion.
- Uncle Sam talks to a family of people wearing "mom jeans".
- A little girl asks her mother where babies come from, and in return the mother asks if her daughter knew that GEICO was saving people money for over 75 years. The mother then shouts "DINNER!" before the daughter can ask her question again.
- Two 1980s valley girls fall for a band student whose grandparents have been saving money with GEICO for more than 75 years. The photo for the band student is the same photo used for the meme "PTSD Clarinet Boy".
"Did You Know?"
From mid-June 2013 to late 2014, a family of TV ads came on where one person reads a GEICO ad, which has the well-known tagline (often with the Gecko in it as well) and a second person says "Everybody knows that." to which the first person says, "Well, did you know ..." followed by an amusing (and fictional) "fact" which is then illustrated in a cutaway scene. Prior to Did You Know Pinocchio Was a Bad Motivational Speaker?, the closing line was temporarily changed to "GEICO: 15 minutes could save you... well, you know."
- Did You Know That Some Owls Aren't That Wise?: A female owl is talking to her owl husband about having lunch with her co-worker Meghan, and the husband owl constantly spams "Who?"
- Did You Know Old MacDonald Was a Really Bad Speller?: Old MacDonald is a contestant in a spelling bee, and is asked to spell "cow". He spells it "C-O-W, E-I-E-I-O." The buzzer goes off, indicating that he's wrong, and he exclaims, "Dangnabbit" and exits the stage, exasperated (the "Dangnabbit" line would since then evolve into a viral quote).
- Did you know the Ancient Pyramids were actually a mistake?: An overseer is monitoring the construction of the Pyramids when he looks at the blueprints and sees that they were supposed to be cubes. He then says, "Uh-oh."
- Did you know that when a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, it does make a sound?: An anthropomorphized tree starts to tip, leading the tree to start shouting that it's going to fall. As it falls, the tree screams until it hits the ground. The tree then asks, "A little help?"
- Did You Know That Houdini Couldn't Escape from Everything?: Houdini comes up with something stuck in between his fingers and can't escape from them. He says to his mom, "Help, you gotta get me out of this!"
- Did You Know There Is an Oldest Trick in the Book?: In the Medieval era, an old man reads to a young apprentice from a large book: "Trick Number One ... Lookest over there." The apprentice looks in the direction indicated, and the old man says, "Ha-ha! Made-est thou look. So end-eth the trick."
- Did You Know Auctioneers Make Bad Grocery store Clerks?: A cashier in a grocery store tells a customer what the total of her purchase is, then starts rapidly "auctioning" it, taking bids from the woman and the man in line behind her.
- Did You Know Pinocchio Was a Bad Motivational Speaker?: A life-size Pinocchio gives a speech about noticing untapped potential. He points to a select few saying, "You have potential", but his nose grows every time, shocking the audience and indicating that he was lying. An extended version of this commercial was posted on YouTube. In it, Pinocchio begins feeling stressed out from his book failing, ultimately he decides to write a new book.
- Did You Know Bad News Doesn't Always Travel Fast?: A boss, personified as a snail, fires one of his employees, Todd. He then says, "Well, gotta run", and slowly crawls away.
- Did You Know Game Show Hosts Should Only Host Game Shows?: A game show host delivers the wedding vows at a wedding, but he asks the bride if she takes her husband or a new sports car, at which point the camera cuts to the car being given away as a prize. She dumps her husband for the car right there at the altar.
- Did You Know Playing Cards with Kenny Rogers Gets Old Pretty Fast?: Rogers plays poker while singing the lyrics from "The Gambler", which annoys the others. This was the last commercial from the Did You Know? series to ever be played on TV, having last aired on 30 November 2015.
- Did You Know Words Really Can Hurt You?: A cowboy breaks up with his girlfriend, and rides off into the sunset, but when the words "The End" appear, he crashes into the "E" in "End" and is knocked off his horse.
- Did You Know the Great Wall of China Wasn't Always So Great?: An army of Mongols ride up to a fence-sized Wall of China. After a few moments of contemplation, they simply step over it and proceed on their way.
- Did You Know Former Pro Football Player Ickey Woods Will Celebrate Almost Anything?: Woods is seen at a deli counter and does his touchdown dance, the Ickey Shuffle, and yells out, "Gonna get some cold cuts today!" when his number 44 is called.
- Did You Know Certain Cartoon Characters Should Never Have an Energy Drink?: A commercial for an energy drink is being filmed, starring the Tasmanian Devil; after drinking the product, he spins out of control and leaves the set. The GEICO ad appears to be over as an entirely different commercial in another room advertises the "Birds of America collection" (50 state bird hand-painted china plate collection). It is then promptly given a "bull in a china shop" treatment when Taz bursts through the wall from the other commercial and demolishes the plates and displays.
- Did You Know Genies Can Be Really Literal?: A man finds a genie in a lamp and wishes for "a million bucks", clearly meaning "$1 million". The genie proceeds to grant him a million male deers. This bit was extended into a web series.
"It's what you do"
From late 2014 to 2017, a family of commercials featured people doing funny or weird actions, while in the end the long-time endboard narrator says, "If (you're) [. . .], you [. . .]. It's what you do. If you want to save 15% or more on car insurance, you switch to GEICO. It's what you do." When the ads appear in a movie theater before the previews start, the second line would be replaced with, "If you're in the movie theater, you silence your cell phone. It's what you do."
- If You're in a Horror Movie, You Make Poor Decisions: Four teenagers representing characters in a generic horror movie are running from a madman near an eerie farmhouse. They argue about whether to hide in the basement or the attic of the house, and when one girl suggests they get into the conveniently running car just behind them, the others call her crazy. Someone else suggests they go into the barn filled with chainsaws, and as they hide there the madman lurking behind them takes off his mask and shakes his head at their stupidity. The advertisement ends with the teenagers running from the madman toward the cemetery.
- If You're Salt-N-Pepa, You Tell People to Push It - Salt-N-Pepa sing "Push It" to various people, including a businessman at the entrance doors, a woman on an elevator, a pregnant woman practicing the Lamaze technique, football players pushing against tackling dummies, and a man mowing his front lawn.
- If You're a Camel, You Put Up with This All the Time - In reference to the viral "Hump Day" ad, a bunch of people at the zoo quote the ad to the camels, who are annoyed by it. One camel, named Phil, even complains that it is not even Wednesday.
- If Something Goes Wrong, You Find a Scapegoat - At a peanut butter factory, the machines act haywire. The boss asks who is to blame, and a worker points to a goat named Rick, who then screams.
- If You're a Free Range Chicken, You Roam Free: A chicken travels the world and texts selfie MMS's to its owners while "Ride Away" by Roy Orbison plays.
- If You're a Cat, You Ignore People: A guy out in the desert falls into some quicksand, sees a cat and asks it for help, but the cat just stands there.
- If You're Dora the Explorer, You Explore: A group of people struggle against harsh polar conditions to travel to the South Pole, but just as they're about to plant their flag to stake their claim, they find that Dora the Explorer and Boots are already there to greet them. The travelers walk away while Dora and Boots do a dance and say, "You did it! Yay!"
- If You're a Fisherman, You Tell Tales: A fisherman exaggerates the day he caught a small fish.
- If Your Boss Stops By, You Act Like You're Working: In medieval times, a group of armored knights led by an imposing leader enter a room lit only by torches. He's come to check on the progress of his men with their interrogation of a prisoner who is strapped to a large table. The two men sternly reply that the prisoner will tell them everything very shortly as they each hold a sharp, pointy weapon. As soon as the leader and his entourage take off, however, a bunch of other men emerge from their hiding spots and the group resumes their ping-pong match on the table. As it turns out, the prisoner is acting as their net and keeping score the entire time.
- If You're the Guy from the Operation Game, You Get Operated On: A patient is rushed into an operating room; he's said to have several foreign objects in his body. The surgeon tries to remove one with tweezers, and a buzzer sounds. The patient turns out to be Cavity Sam.
- If You're a Golf Commentator, You Whisper: Commentators are quietly describing the action during a golf tournament, when a kraken suddenly reaches out of the water hazard and grabs the golfer and some other people. The commentators continue to describe the scene, calmly and quietly.
- If You're the Band Europe, You Love a Final Countdown: In a company break room, an employee cooks a burrito in a microwave oven; suddenly, the rock band Europe is in the room with him, singing "The Final Countdown" while the timer on the microwave counts down.
- If You're Peter Pan, You Stay Young Forever: Peter flies in at a high school reunion that shows people who graduated in 1965 at their 50th class reunion.
- If You're a Mom, You Call at the Worst Time - An action movie hero is saving the day when a call from his mother inconveniences him.
- If You're a Couple, You Fight Over Directions - Tarzan and Jane are lost. Tarzan is confident about his way, but Jane asks Cheeta for directions.
- If You Have Alligator Arms, You Avoid Picking up the Check - A group of people at a Chinese restaurant are given their bill, and a talking alligator suggests he take care of it, but he cannot reach it because of his tiny arms.
- If You Sit on Your Phone, You Butt Dial People - A man is about to propose to his girlfriend, but her brother calls her. She answers, but it turns out to be a pocket dial from him at a sporting event.
- If You're a Parrot, You Repeat Things - A parrot on a pirate's shoulder repeats everything the pirate said privately to everyone, causing the crew to mutiny against him. The parrot even repeats the voiceover's GEICO slogan "It's What You Do".
- If You Want Someone to Leave You Alone, You Pretend Like You're Sleeping - Prince Charming attempts to awaken Sleeping Beauty from her slumber, but fails. After he leaves, Sleeping Beauty reveals she was faking just so she could catch up on her reality television.
- If You Taste Something Bad, You Want Someone Else to Try It - Some talking raccoons are rummaging through the garbage, and one of them comes upon something foul and wants the others to taste it as well. This commercial appeared in the 2017 film The Dark Tower.
- If You Walk the Walk, You Talk the Talk - A western sheriff confronts the villains and tells them to vamoose, and speaks his every move every time he walks.
- If You're a Stuntman, You Cheat Death - A stunt man and the Grim Reaper compete in a 10K, but neither play fair.
- If You're Boyz II Men, You'd Make Anything Sound Good - At a pharmacy, the Grammy-winning R&B group sing the possible side effects of a drug.
- If You're a Ref, You Way Over-explain Things - A referee yells his order to a waiter at a restaurant.
"Unskippable" freeze frames
Debuted in 2015, these ads employ a satire of the technique of frame freezing, by showing live actors attempting to mimic a freeze-frame, often in awkward positions and sometimes assisted by intentionally visible stunt tools, such as suspension cords when paused in mid-air. The premise is that when viewing ads on sites like YouTube, usually a viewer cannot skip the ad until 5 seconds in then the commercial announcer saying "You can't skip this GEICO ad because it's already over" then the commercial announcer saying the GEICO slogan. If a user watches the entire video, events turn disastrous.
- Family: At the dinner table, a mother tells her family that they can "thank the savings". During the freeze-frame, the family dog starts eating from the father's plate.
- High Five: Two friends celebrate saving money by performing a jumping high-five. During the freeze-frame, the stunt wires become visible and one of the actors' feet catches fire.
- Cleaning Crew: A janitor mishears a businessman saying "savings". He loses control of the vacuum cleaner which runs over the cord and causes the electricity to short out.
- Elevator: Two businessmen shake hands in an elevator. A woman enters the elevator asking to get off at the second floor, but the men are in a freeze-frame so she must press the button herself.
Debuted in 2016, these ads show the beginning portion of a 45-90-second ad before a blue screen disclaimer appears telling the viewers that the ad is being fast forward to the end portion so that they can get to their video faster. If an extended version of the ad or just the regular 15-second ad is shown on sites like YouTube, the viewer is usually welcome to skip the ad when 5 seconds have been used.
- Forest: In the lodge in the forest, two brothers were sawing a log when they were talking about savings from GEICO until a disclaimer appears skipping to one of the brothers hugging a bear thinking that "he's my brother".
- Hike: Two hikers were walking a mountain telling that GEICO has been around for a very long time until a disclaimer appears skipping to the hikers being taken by an eagle while one of them holds a saxophone claiming that "not everyone likes smooth jazz!"
- Lake: Two fishermen were talking in the canoe in the lake talking about 24/7 claims from GEICO until a disclaimer appears skipping to the fishermen being hung as plaques in a fish's house calling each other "gullible".
- Going up: Almost similar to the "Unskippable" version of "Elevator", two women and a man discuss about their savings from GEICO until a disclaimer appears skipping two bald women coming out from the elevator leaving the man behind and declaring that they are "taking the stairs" next time.
Debuted in 2016, these ads depict celebrities or historical figures in outlandish situations.
- Playing Marco Polo with Marco Polo: Two kids play Marco Polo in their pool to the confusion of the historical Marco Polo, who eventually joins them in playing.
- Ice-T at a Lemonade Stand: The famous American rapper runs a lemonade stand with two young boys but gets frustrated when customers ask if the stand sells iced tea.
- A Sumo Wrestler Figure skating: A Sumo Wrestler skates around and does some silly moves, including his signature "Flying Dutchman" only to get an applause from the crowd.
- Tiki Barber Running a Barber Shop: Another barber says football plays before giving a buzzer to Tiki Barber, who sprints to each client and shaves a large part of their hair off. Once Tiki is done, he starts to celebrate and a person waiting leaves when he asks "Who's next?"
- Ordering a Getaway Car with an App: A group of robbers escape with valuables but get upset when they find out their getaway car they ordered on a rideshare app is late. One remains optimistic and comments on how the driver's name, Randy, is trustworthy, but when the car comes, the police catch up to them.
- Caesar on a Caesar Salad: A man portraying as Julius Caesar stands on top of a Caesar salad on the table in a restaurant.
- Runway models on a runway: A group of notorious models delay a flight to hold a fashion show on an airport runway.
- The Running of the Bulldogs: A runner trips in the Running of the Bulls race and faces imminent danger from...bulldogs.
- A Triangle solo: An orchestra is performing Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, when the trianglist begins stealing the spotlight. (Side note: None of the Brandenburg Concertos call for a triangle.)
- Casual Fridays at Buckingham Palace - A British royal guard slacker takes the place of a formal royal guard.
These ads show a person seemingly in trouble, until they state that switching to GEICO could save you money on car insurance; at which point this unrelated answer is accepted as a great answer.
- Courtroom: A defendant in court is accused of robbing a safe. The prosecution has fingerprint evidence, photo evidence, and even a Twitter post using #JustRobbedTheSafe. The defendant's response is to tell everyone that switching to GEICO could save them money on car insurance, at which point he is dismissed.
- Undercover: An undercover agent, wearing a disguise, is caught. When forced to explain himself, he says that you can save money on car insurance, at which point the people he was spying on let him go.
- Meteor: After it is discovered that a meteor is heading toward earth, one of the people in the room tells everybody that switching to GEICO could save them money.
- Adrift and Hungry: There are three men in a lifeboat, starving when one of them notices cheese on one of the men's beard. The man simply mentions that switching to GEICO could save them money. At the end, a fish jumps into their raft and they fight over it.
- He-Man vs. Skeletor: He-Man and his posse are about to defeat Skeletor, until Skeletor tells them they should switch to GEICO and makes his escape.
- Painting: A man is showing a woman his new painting and asks for her opinion. Instead, she tells him that switching to GEICO could save money on car insurance.
- Call-in Show: A woman is hosting a talk radio show, until the guy she once dated calls in asking why she never called back, so she says switching to GEICO could save hundreds on car insurance.
- Trivia Contest: The question being asked is "What color is the White House?" When the contestant does not know the answer to this simple question, he says that switching to GEICO could save money on car insurance.
- Love Advice:
Take a Closer Look
Since late 2016, a series of TV ads shows two people talking about GEICO, and one of them saying he/she should "take a closer look" at it; the camera then focuses on an inanimate object or animal in the background, which starts talking about the insurance company.
- Plate: In this ad, painted figures on a decorative plate - a woman on a balcony and a man with a guitar in the garden below - talk about GEICO, and then the man plays music while the woman goes back inside.
- Cuckoo clock: In this ad, moving figures on a cuckoo clock talk about GEICO and also about the futility of their repetitive actions.
- RV: Three bumper stickers on the back of a recreational vehicle talk about GEICO, and the one shaped like a moose is shocked to learn that he's not a real moose.
- Pigeon: A group of pigeons on a telephone wire talk about GEICO saying they have umbrella coverage, which gets one pigeon to say a person below them will wish he had an umbrella and to "fire at will." He later becomes frustrated at how none of the other pigeons understand that "fire at will" is a saying.
- Fleas: Two fleas (actually two humans in badly-made flea suits) play badminton on a golden retriever until a disagreement results in the loss of a shuttlecock.
You Had One Job
Since 2017 on ESPN, the VO's tagline: "You had one job, brought to you by GEICO" and referee Shaun Irving blows his whistle to do jobs right.
Source of the article : Wikipedia