NEW YORK Geico draws inspiration from YouTube in its latest campaign that pairs viral video stars with its popular ad icons like the Gecko.
In the first clip of a new online effort from The Martin Agency, the Gecko dances quietly on a computer monitor in the background while the "Numa Numa" guy, who amassed 27 million YouTube views with a recording of himself dancing and singing in front of the camera, sings the track backing Geico's "Kash" ads, "Somebody's Watching Me."
The video is the first of nine parodies that will be posted through April 9. The Gecko is also cast as the "laughing baby," as the third participant in "two talking cats" and as the Gecko "that takes a picture of himself every day for two years."
"This is an exciting experiment for Geico and a radical departure from our traditional media placements and strong 'call to action' messages," said Ted Ward, vp of marketing for Geico, in a statement. "The gecko and some of our other icons have a passionate fan base and we think people will appreciate the 'surprise' of seeing them pop up in unexpected places. No call to action, no Web site address or 1-800 number, just a bit of entertainment courtesy of Geico."
The creative team of Mike Lear, vp, associate creative director, and Ron Villacarillo, senior art director, surfed video-sharing sites to find popular videos to spoof and contacted the original creators. Once they had the proper approvals, they created the parody videos.
Geico media agency Horizon Media worked with video-sharing sites YouTube, Metacafe, Break, Dailymotion and Slide to create a media plan that would allow the parody videos to display close to the originals.
"The aim was to launch a video campaign in the most organic of ways and deliver on both efficiency and effectiveness," said Taylor Valentine, director of strategic services at Horizon Media. "As a result, we have implemented a campaign that incorporates online grassroots outreach, search engine and site optimization, creator relationships, and extremely natural first-to-market paid inclusions and integrations"