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New GEICO Spots Feature Some Old-School Pop Icons: Geckos and Cavemen, Make Way for Ads With Flintstones and the Cabbage Patch Kids

Aug 29, 2007

By Jeffrey Kelley, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Va.

Aug. 30--Cavemen and geckos are already synonymous with GEICO insurance. A Richmond ad shop next wants to elevate Fred Flintstone, Jed Clampett and the Cabbage Patch Kids to that level, too.

Starting today, the latest ad campaign by The Martin Agency for the auto insurance company begins. It sets out to show that these old-school pop icons made their fortunes by switching insurers.

The latest 30-second spots are a parody on the E! network's tabloidy "True Hollywood Story" or VH1's "Behind the Music" series.

One ad shows Ben Winkler -- a.k.a. the first Cabbage Patch Kid -- as his childhood fame wanes when he grows up. He lost his fortune, but in 2003 switched to GEICO, turned his life around and went on to win a celebrity dance competition.

How did stone quarry employee Fred Flintstone afford those rocks around wife Wilma's neck? An investigation reveals the Flintmobile was insured with GEICO, saving the family enough cash for jewelry.

And despite what we've been told, Clampett -- patriarch of "The Beverly Hillbillies" -- did not get rich by striking Texas tea, but had switched his car insurance.

While the cavemen ads push the ease of use of -- "so easy a caveman could do it" -- the latest will push savings.

Bob Meagher, a Martin Agency senior vice president and copywriter on the spots, said the point was to show "the real story of how these people got their wealth" in a "dishing out the dirt" kind of way.

"Just about everyone in our category is promoting a savings message now, as we've done for years. So finding a fresh, new way to talk about savings that stays true to the GEICO brand was tough," Ted Ward, the insurer's vice president of marketing, said in a statement. "We hope [the ads show] the kind of advertising twist consumers have come to expect from GEICO."

Ward also gave the ads credit for helping to boost premiums from less than $3 billion in 1996 to more than $11 billion last year.

While media spending with The Martin Agency was not disclosed, GEICO put up $560 million on advertising last year and $265 million from January to June of this year, according to AdWeek, citing data from Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Meagher said there are more spots planned in the new campaign. Perhaps how George Jetson got rich, not by manufacturing sprockets, but by insuring his flying saucer? Meagher isn't saying.

"I don't want to reveal anything, but I would love to do more of these." Contact Jeffrey Kelley at (804) 649-6348 or [email protected]


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Copyright (c) 2007, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Va.

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