Marketers long to see their advertising transcend its sales-pitch origins and become part of the larger culture. The catch, of course, is that the
brand then loses control over the image it has created for itself. Geico’s
cavemen are a case in point. As all homo sapiens know by now, the insurance
company’s commercials made such cult figures of the touchy troglodytes that
the campaign spawned a TV show about cavemen who find themselves living in
modern-day San Diego. And, by all accounts, the show stinks. (One of the
good things about the Hollywood writers’ strike is that Cavemen is on
hiatus.) This latest Geico spot, by The Martin Agency of Richmond, Va.,
restores order by giving its authentic cavemen a chance to comment
critically on the faux cavemen who populate the show. As Geico’s cavemen sit
on a couch watching TV, the show “about us” comes on the air (seen by them,
not by us). One of the cavemen asks, “What’s the deal with that makeup?” to
which the other replies, “Exactly! Why not just use real cavemen?” Reaching
for something, anything positive to say about the show, one of them remarks
that the characters’ diction is clear. And, “At least they didn’t say, ‘It’s
so easy… .'” His companion bitterly allows, “There’s that.” Whether you’ve
endured the Cavemen TV show or not, you’ll be delighted to see the Geico
cavemen back in action, as quick as ever to feel slighted by the way the
modern world treats them. A bad TV show hasn’t killed them, it’s made them
stronger! Well, or maybe it’s just made them touchier. In any case, when the
Geico logo comes onscreen at the end of the spot, one feels the proper order
of the universe has been restored and that Geico deserves full credit for
this.–Mark Dolliver