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Geico and the Martin Agency Everlasting Love

25 years of Advertising Gold

Wednesday is normally just any other day for most of us. It’s the middle of the workweek and usually pretty monotonous. That was until the Fall of 2013, when “hump day” took on a following that couldn’t be avoided in almost any office, and all thanks to Geico and The Martin Agency (poor Mike-Mike-Mike-Mike working in any office).

The Martin Agency, a full service ad agency out of Richmond,  has been the agency of record for Geico since 1994. This is quite a feat for any client/agency relationship these days. So it comes at no surprise that when Geico was looking at their next campaign, they had an arsenal of creative gems to choose from as benchmarks for success. Geico, who spends over $1 billion a year on marketing and advertising, could have gone to their crack team at The Martin Agency and asked them to come up with the next big memorable campaign thats wins awards and becomes a cult classic, but instead, they opted to throw it back and introduce a whole new generation to favorite past spots and remind those that saw them the first time around of a piece of their pop culture past.

A Simple Beginning

In the very beginning of their working relationship, the creative juggernauts at Martin began with one simple price point: “15 minutes could save you 15% or more.” It was a campaign that has a 93% recall rate with audiences and started to gain the consumer response of, “Well everyone knows that.” They took this known fact about the brand and ran with it. Having such a huge media budget allowed the team to run several varying messages at one time with the same message. Ted Ward, vice-president of Marketing at Geico describes their approach as “relentlessly consistent.” This unique approach in an industry where every advertiser is always trying to come up with the best new thing has skyrocketed Geico from eighth to number two in their category.

Fast forward to 2019. We have met the Gecko, the Caveman, Maxwell The Pig, and a host of other characters that help us understand the benefits of choosing Geico for your insurance needs in a category that is so heavy. What could they possibly do as they ramped up for the year?  This year marked the 25th Anniversary for the client/agency duo. This seemed like the perfect time to take all of the “best” spots that the pair created together over the last 25 years and re-air them. The idea to add in an element of customer engagement with their advertising (a concept that was not at the forefront of marketing when many of these ads originally hit screens) adds another level of genius to this concept. The addition of an explainer commercial with 80s-esque As Seen On TV commercial to jump-started the nostalgia.

In a time when everybody wants to be the next TV/YouTube/Instagram kind of star, Geico offered one lucky winner the chance to appear in a future Geico ad.

But how did they choose which ads would make the exlusive “best of” in a library of great ads? It started with both Geico and The Martin Agency picking 20 semifinalists each. With the lists intersecting a lot, they were able to narrow it down to 10 semifinalists. Some of the chosen ones were unable to be used. Trying to secure rights to talent from spots that aired decades ago proved to be most difficult part of a campaign like this one, and therefore, we lost some of the greats.

In the end, the infamous Hump Day won as the overall favorite Geico spot.  However, Geico and The Martin Agency came out on top too. The concept is the number one most talked about TV ad of all time on social media and garnered 1,462,000 votes, 435,000 contest entries, and 61 MILLION views. To put that number of view into perspective- that is double the amount of people in the NYC and Los Angeles metros combined!

Personally I think the real winners are the generations of kids that were exposed to their first image of a pay phone in my personal favorite spot, Collect Call.

It is one thing for a brand and an agency to know how to sell to their customers, but if this doesn’t prove how important a really great agency/client relationship with both teams being fully invested and trusting, I don’t know what else is!



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