Ad of the Day: Marco Polo Struggles With His Own Pool Game in Geico’s New Campaign

Martin Agency debuts 'It's Not Surprising' work

One of the last places you'd expect to see 13th century Venetian explorer Marco Polo would be in a pool with a bunch of kids during a round of the modern-day water game Marco Polo.

But that's exactly where he appears in Geico's latest goofy commercial from The Martin Agency, which juxtaposes the surprise of the off-kilter visual gag with the obviousness of what the the insurer emphasizes as its competitive edge—lower rates for consumers.

"It's not surprising" is the theme of the new mini-campaign.

In the spot, the famous traveler stands, in full period garb, chest deep in a backyard pool, completely baffled while a handful of children swim around him yelling "Marco" and "Polo." His ineffectual attempts to bridge the gap are entertaining enough.

"Excuse me," he says in Italian, "I am Marco Polo." Alas, it's to no avail.

But the ad's true highlight is its llama—apparently Polo's ride to the party (which is in itself a bit of a surprise—it made it to South America sometime in the past 700 years, too). It stands outside the pool, peering over the edge at the commotion, face permanently fixed in a state of bored indignation.

That's a more subtle role than many of Geico's animal figures, who often stand front and center in its ads—earlier this year, an obnoxious talking alligator showed viewers how to properly dodge a lunch check, building on a long, amusing history of using animals to help sell its policies. This aloof, understated approach works well, and in the end, even the hapless Polo catches on to the rules and joins the fun, making for a charming little last shot.

Of course, perhaps most surprising of all is how calm parents and Geico customers Amanda and Keith are about the oddly dressed old man with the pack animal crashing their family afternoon. Then again, maybe saving $645 on car insurance when they have three kids to raise—the new campaign also notably shows actual Geico customers and their actual savings—might well have the same effect on them as popping a couple of Valium.

CREDITS

Client: Geico

Vice President, Marketing: Ted Ward

Director, Marketing/Media/Advertising: Bill Brower

Senior Manager, Brand Team/Media Advertising/Sports Marketing: Melissa Halicy

Brand Team Senior Supervisor: Mike Grant

Brand Team Planners: Brighid Griffin, Tom Perlozzo

Brand Team Coordinators: Julia Nass, Tim Ware

Agency: The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.

Chief Creative Officer: Joe Alexander

Group Creative Directors: Steve Bassett, Wade Alger

Creative Director: Sean Riley

Senior Copywriter: Ken Marcus

Executive Producer: Brett Alexander

Broadcast Producer: Brian Camp

Associate Broadcast Producer: Coleman Sweeney

Junior Broadcast Producer: Sara Montgomery

Account Director: Ben Creasey

Account Supervisor: Allison Hensley

Account Executive: Jon Glomb

Account Coordinator: Allie Waller

Business Affairs Supervisor: Suzanne Wieringo

Financial Account Supervisor: Monica Cox

Senior Production Business Manager: Amy Trenz

Project Manager: Karen McEwen

Production Company: RadicalMedia

Director: Steve Miller

Executive Producer: Gregg Carlesimo

Head of Production: Frank Dituri

Producer: Jonathan Dino

Editing Company: MackCut

Editor: Ian MacKenzie

Assistant Editor: Mike Leuis

Executive Producer: Gina Pagano

Producer: Sabina-Elease Utley

Sound Design: Sam Shaffer

Editing Company: Running With Scissors

Assistant Editor: Drew Neuhart

Telecine: The Mill

Colorist: Fergus McCall

Finishing, Visual Effects: RWS

Flame Artist: Chris Hagen

Flame Assistant: Paul Widerholt

Post Producer: Katherine Leatherwood

Audio Post Company: Rainmaker Studios

Senior Sound Designer: Jeff McManus

Executive Producer, Owner: Kristin O'Connor

General Manager, Scheduler: Clinton Spell II