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GEICO's storytelling formula

News, 16 May 2016
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HOLLYWOOD, FL: GEICO, the insurance provider, has benefited from adopting a "multifaceted" approach to storytelling that uses various characters to show off the diverse components of its brand.

Brad Higdon, SVP/Group Account Director at The Martin Agency – which helps drive GEICO's attempts at storytelling – discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2016 Masters of Media Conference.

And he argued that unusual spokesmen like the gecko, cavemen, flying pigs, talking camels – and a broad mix of other representatives – starring in the insurer's marketing each flag up distinct features of its brand.

"Consumers have an expectation today that your brand is going to be multifaceted and you're going to have more than just one thing that you do," he said. (For more, including further details of the brand's strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: How GEICO keeps breaking through the clutter.)

"It's now more important than ever to convince consumers that you have different facets to your brand."

This "stories within stories" structure, he continued, has informed hit TV shows from "Game of Thrones" and "Lost" to "Modern Family" – and right back to 1950s cop series "Dragnet".

But for a brand like GEICO, that approach can assist in communicating around a low-interest category in highly engaging ways.

So while the gecko is the brand's overall ambassador, Maxwell the Pig talks about technology, the cavemen direct visitors to its website, and so on.

Wade Alger, The Martin Agency's SVP/Group Creative Director, suggested this model has yielded very positive results – but also requires considerable flexibility.

"That's how consumers are used to seeing things, whether it's the TV shows they're watching or the brands they're identifying with," he said. "That's the secret sauce of what we're doing at GEICO.

"Basically, what we try to do is start a lot of little fires. When one takes off [we] just start fanning the flames and seeing where we can go with it."

Data sourced from Warc

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