Ad of the Day: Geico

The Martin Agency builds a little world around three rowing guinea pigs

Geico is the master of the mini-campaign. The insurance company still leans fairly heavily on the gecko and the cavemen, but sprinkles in loads of other ad characters and setups along the way, all from The Martin Agency—the rhetorical question guy, the random celebrities, the googly-eyed wad of money known as Kash. They've even done an Xtranormal spot.

The latest mini-campaign is the "Easier Way to Save" spots, in which people concoct ludicrous cost-cutting schemes, when they should really just switch insurance carriers and get a better rate. The oddball characters in the series include a woman who stops downloading music and instead teaches her animals to sing A-ha's "Take on Me"; a couple who devour their daughter's pet fish instead of ordering sushi; and another couple who teach their 5-year-old son how to dunk. But probably the best ad of the bunch is "Guinea Pigs," featuring a guy whose electrical bill was getting out of hand—so he trained three guinea pigs to row a tiny boat in a little tank of water in his office, thus generating a bit of electricity to power his computer.

"Guinea Pigs" has all the ingredients of a winning comedy spot: the absurd premise; the cute animals (alas, CGI and not actual trained rodents); the weary but committed consumer; the weird details of the "chubby" guinea pig who has had trouble learning the word "row." Figuring they would be a hit (hey, the spot even got a fawning review in Guinea Pig Today), Martin whipped up some additional materials, too—an extended version of the spot on YouTube, giving additional back story, and an iPhone game, available at, called the Guinea Pig Getaway App, in which they try to escape from their crazy owner. ("Help them navigate the murky waters filled with obstacles that threaten their speedy escape—alligators, bones, tires, and more. Yuck!")

They may not be a threat to the gecko, who has his own new spot out, but these are some of the quirkiest critters to come along in a commercial in some time—probably since DirecTV's miniature giraffe. Perhaps we'll get a sequel.

Client: Geico
Spot: "Guinea Pigs"

Agency: The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.
Chief Creative Officer: John Norman
SVP/Group Creative Director: Steve Bassett
VP/Associate Creative Director (Copywriter): Wade Alger
Senior Art Director: Justin Harris
Strategic Planners: Rad Tollett, Melissa Cabral
SVP/Group Account Director: Chris Mumford
Account Director: Liz Toms
Senior Account Executive: Parker Collins
Project Manager: Susan Karns
VP/Agency Executive Broadcast Producer: Molly Souter
Agency Junior Producer: Nicole Hollis-Vitale
Group Talent Director: Suzanne Wieringo
Senior Integrated Production Business Manager: Amy Trenz

Production Company:
Director: Steve Miller
Director of Photography: Eric Schmidt
Executive Producers: Frank Scherma, Gregg Carlesimo
Line Producer: Barbara Benson

Editorial: Mackenzie Cutler
Editor: Ian Mackenzie
Assistant Editor: Nick Divers
Producer: Tatiana Vasquez

Visual Effects Company: Click 3X
VFX Creative Director: Mark Szumski
VFX Artist: Liz Berndt
Executive Producer: Chris Kiser
VFX Producer: Will Mok