Ad of the Day: Geico

You know the 'Fifteen minutes' line by heart, but did you also know…

Must be nice to have pummeled your audience with enough advertising that they think of your pitch as literally common knowledge.

That's the enviable position Geico finds itself in, as it launches yet another mini campaign through The Martin Agency. There is hardly a more famous line in advertising than "Fifteen minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance"—not because it's so special, but because it's so ubiquitous. The new ads play off that. They begin with someone reciting the line after spying it on billboards or in magazine ads. "Everybody knows that," someone else replies dismissively—prompting the first person, feeling lightly chastised, to offer other factoids that might be more surprising.

"Well, did you know that some owls aren't that wise?" a wife tells her husband in one of two launch spots, as the scene shifts to a pair of owls having a particularly dumb conversation.

"Well, did you know that Old MacDonald was a really bad speller?" one co-worker tells another in the other spot. That ad then shows a spelling bee, in which the farmer indeed proves his gross inadequacy at spelling the simplest barnyard words.

The campaign is classic Geico: a rigid, repeatable structure; goofy characters; quietly offbeat humor. It's also a great example of the marketer having its cake and eating it, too. The campaign is all about how the "Fifteen minutes" line is so familiar, it's barely worth saying—and yet each ad opens with exactly that. That's one way to subvert what might be actual consumer fatigue around the line, and give it yet another airing.

From setup to payoff, the "Did you know?" structure might be a little less smooth than some other Geico campaigns, like the rhetorical questions work or the "Happier than" stuff. But like most other Geico work, it affords the creatives an almost unlimited canvas for exploring amusing plot lines.

If "Owl" and "Old MacDonald" don't do it for you, maybe some others will. The campaign launches today, and more spots will roll out in the coming months.

Client: Geico
Vice President, Marketing: Ted Ward
Manager, Broadcast Production and Agency Relations: Amy Hooks
Marketing Planner: Amy Ruddell

Spots: "Owl," "Old MacDonald"

Agency: The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.
Chief Creative Officer: Joe Alexander
Senior Vice President, Group Creative Director: Steve Bassett
Vice President, Creative Director: Wade Alger
Senior Copywriter: Neel Williams
Vice President, Senior Art Director: Justin Harris
Vice President, Account Director: Brad Higdon
Account Supervisor: Parker Collins
Account Executive: Marisa Weber
Account Coordinator: Carter Crenshaw
Project Manager: Jason Ray
Vice President, Agency Executive Broadcast Producer: Molly Souter
Agency Producer: Nicole Hollis-Vitale
Agency Junior Producer: Emily Taylor
Group Talent Director: Suzanne Wieringo
Senior Integrated Production Business Manager: Amy Trenz

Production Company: Radical Media
Director: Steve Miller
Director of Photography: Salvatore Totino
Executive Producer: Gregg Carlesimo
Line Producer: Barbara Benson

Editorial Company: Whitehouse Editorial
Editor: Matthew Wood
Assistant Editor: Caleb Hepler
Editorial Executive Producer: Dan Byrant
Editorial Producer: Dawn Guzowski

Telecine: Company 3
Colorist: Tim Masick

Animation, Visual Effects: The Mill
Visual Effects Producer: Colin Blaney

Audio Post Company: Rainmaker Studios
Engineer: Jeff McManus

Music: "Pyramids" licensed from APM