Q&A: Kash Is King for Geico

Selling car insurance isn’t supposed to be a laugh riot, but somehow Geico makes consumers laugh again and again. It’s latest effort ad effort, created by the Martin Agency and  starring “Kash,” debuted in December. However the character continues to gain fans, according to Geico CMO Ted Ward. Ward spoke with Brandweek’s Kenneth Hein about why this stack of money with cookie monster eyes has drawn such a  following:

What’s Kash’s allure?
Ted Ward: We started working on it a while back when the economy was nowhere near as in the dumper as it is now. Sometimes it’s just nice to have good timing. Talking about saving money and visually depicting it with an odd looking critter that is the essence of money [worked]. This was timed perfectly.

BW: How’d you come up with the song Rockwell’s “Somebody’s watching me?”
TW: The song is usually the toughest part. We’ve used a lot of different music in spots over the years. It’s usually one of the more heated discussions where someone’s saying ‘I hate it’ or ‘I love it.’ This one came right out of the shoot. It was spot on.”

BW: Was it a favorite of yours?
TW: I did not own it. I’m not of that era, the early ‘80s.

BW: Did you have a lot of different models of Kash?
TW: We had an early version with ping pong balls with little black eyeballs. The production company worked on it and came up with the perfect eyeballs. It’s just so odd.

BW: And the cavemen weren’t?
TW: When we first introduced the cave guys we weren’t thinking it was going to be a huge success. It gained momentum and [generated] a cult-like following. It started getting traction once people started parking stuff on YouTube. It was more exciting than we initially thought; same with Kash. It’s not my personal favorite and it certainly is not my CEO’s. He’s a big fan of the gecko.

BW: Were you involved in the cavemen TV series?
TW: I negotiated some of the usage [rights]. It wasn’t our favorite enterprise. ABC took it and ran. We had a couple of ideas and they chose not to listen. The series died a cruel, hideous death as it should have. It’s a great character for 30 seconds at a time versus 30 minutes.

BW: So Kash obviously isn’t getting his own TV series, but what is on deck for him?
TW: Lots of people are writing e-mails and sending letters. They all want him to talk. That’s probably the last place we’ll go. I think we’ll keep him odd and silent.