NEW YORK Geico is breaking a TV campaign this week that emphasizes the car insurer's money-saving message with a new character named "Kash."
Two 30-second commercials that introduce the character -- literally a bundle of money with eyes -- broke nationally yesterday. In one spot, a businessman is distracted during a meeting when a squeaking noise diverts his attention to "Kash," who appears on a window-washer platform. "That's the money you could be saving with Geico," explains a co-worker. In another ad, a woman spends more time flirting with "Kash" than her date. Both commercials end with a remake of the '80s Rockwell hit "Somebody's Watching Me."
The character represents the average national savings consumers get from using Geico, about $500, said Mike Lear, associate creative director at The Martin Agency, an IPG shop in Richmond, Va. "Geico loves to talk about savings, that's their recurring theme," he said. "We just dumbed it down to the most basic thing in the world, 'I want more money.'"
The campaign will include additional TV executions as well as print and outdoor ads and online elements. Nontraditional elements will also be used to promote Kash, though the agency declined to elaborate.
Lear said the team has created a full version of the music track, which was produced by Mysto & Pizzi, but has yet to determine how it will be used.
Since the character follows people around in the commercials, associate creative director Sissy Estes said the song selection is "perfect" for the campaign. "We want people to hear that song and immediately think of Geico," she added.
The series is the latest addition to Geico's multi-layered advertising initiatives, which also include its iconic animated gecko, surly cavemen and consumer testimonials translated by celebrities.
"During the past few years, we've had some good success in our advertising in 'owning' an idea or phrase in the marketplace. First there was 'good news' and then the cavemen helped us stake a claim on 'so easy...'" said Ted Ward, vice president of marketing at Geico, in a statement. "If this stack of money can help us own saving 'cash' in the minds of consumers, then Kash will have earned his keep."
Geico spent $595 million advertising last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, and nearly $470 million through September of this year.