Who is the GEICO Caveman in GEICO Commercials?
GEICO is as well-known for its aggressive advertising campaign as it is for the car insurance it provides. GEICO commercials change rapidly, with several different commercials active on the television at any one time. Unlike some companies that rely on agencies to push policies, GEICO has more focus on direct sales; this means that most GEICO customers obtain policies by signing up online or calling for a quote.
In order to attract the widest variety of direct sales customers, GEICO’s advertisements cast a wide net and seek to draw in multiple types of people. Because many clients in the direct sales market are young and tech-savvy, GEICO advertisements tend to be humorous and light-hearted, and often feature a colorful cast of characters.
One of the most iconic characters in GEICO advertisements is the caveman. Beginning in 2004, GEICO began using the catchphrase, “So easy a caveman could do it” in reference to its website and the process of obtaining a quote online. To accompany this catchphrase, GEICO released a series of commercials showing Neanderthals living in modern society. These modern-day fictional cavemen were offended by the GEICO catchphrase, creating the central conflict behind these humorous commercials.
The caveman advertisements quickly took hold. Altogether, there have been 21 GEICO caveman commercials, with more still being made. Some of these commercials overlap with other commercials from the company, with the cavemen making an appearance in advertisements featuring other characters.
GEICO Caveman Commercial Themes
All of the caveman commercials contain similar themes involving the way the fictional cavemen react to the negative stereotyping of the GEICO catchphrase. Playing off notions of political correctness, the advertisements take a humorous approach by turning the viewer’s expectations of cavemen on their head. The GEICO cavemen are eloquent, well-dressed and live an urban lifestyle. In addition to the humorous set-up, many of the caveman commercials also include music.
Regardless of the setup of the commercial, the catchphrase “So easy a caveman could do it” appears in every advertisement. While the farcical elements of the commercial take center stage, the ultimate message is consistent with other commercials GEICO has run in the past: Obtaining affordable insurance with GEICO is cheap and easy.
As with most GEICO commercials, the focus of the advertisement has very little to do with car insurance. Instead, the commercial seeks to attract the attention of viewers who will enjoy the advertisement on its own merit and then go on to positively associate the brand with the product. This type of advertising is quite unique among car insurance companies, leading the company to stand out from the competition. Other car insurance companies in recent years have begun to create funny commercials to compete, but GEICO continues to have the widest variety of advertisements on the air.
Who Are The GEICO Cavemen?
There are several cavemen who have played the role in GEICO commercials:
— Jeff Daniel Phillips: One of the earliest cavemen in the ads, he has also been involved in several other film and television projects including Arrest and Trial, Philly, Profiler, and Halloween 2.
— Ben Weber: The second of the original GEICO cavemen, he has also acted in multiple television shows including Sex and the City and The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
— John Lehr: An actor appearing in several of the ads, including the role of the therapy-seeking caveman. He is the co-creator, executive producer, writer and star of the show 10 Items or Less, and has also played roles in Friends and Jesse.
— Ben Wilson: Another actor starring in the cavemen commercials
Several of the commercials were made in tandem with each other, so that similar themes and characters overlap across multiple advertisements. For example, there are several commercials featuring an on-going discussion between John Lehr’s caveman and his therapist. These interconnected advertisements serve to tell a story and create more advertising buzz than individual commercials would accomplish.
The Caveman Television Show
In 2007, ABC attempted to release a television show starring the GEICO cavemen. The show would have a sitcom environment and follow cavemen who were attempting to live as normal suburban Americans in the modern era. Due to very low ratings, the show was canceled almost immediately after its release, making it one of the shortest-lived TV shows in ABC’s history.
Despite the poor reception to the show, the caveman commercials continued to be popular. In fact, after the show was removed from the air, a GEICO commercial ran a spoofing reference to the show.
The GEICO cavemen have shown up in other media as well, including making an appearance in a 3 Doors Down music video. They have also been featured in the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame, a high honor for advertising campagins.
Although the GEICO cavemen do not make an appearance all of the time in the company’s commercials, they do show up regularly in the commercials. GEICO seems to rotate between characters in the advertisements frequently, so that the advertisements always seem fresh. Given the intense popularity of the GEICO caveman commercials, it is unlikely that the company will stop using this highly effective advertisement.