Thursday, January 25, 2007

So easy Kevin Federline can do it

It started about five years ago with a painfully annoying duck shilling insurance for Aflac the only way it knew how. Fellow insurance company Geico joined the fray with their own grating critter variation -- this one reptilian and with a Cockney accent.

The chatty gecko was the next of a massive, wall-to-wall, varied ad campaign lauched by industry laggard Geico -- which now spends more money on television than Pepsi Co. -- to increase its market share.

Other Geico highlights have been their ubiquitous non-sequitur spots that end with the punch line "I've got great news—I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance," and their hilarious Tiny House reality show spoof that had me going the first three times I saw it.

But Geico really hit their stride, thematically, with its caveman spots. The cavemen -- played as effete sophisticates -- distress and complain about Geico's new slogan: "So easy a caveman could do it."

It is the little details, such as a caveman ordering mango sauce at the restaurant, or another putting his mother on speaker phone during a therapy session that make the campaign so entertaining.

But its overarching message about an outrage culture where anything perceived to be offensive will not only elicit a chorus of apology demands, but might send the offender to rehab -- in absence of re-education camps --also resonates.

The latest insurance company to conclude it is better to tickle the funny bone than to harp upon the fragility of life is Nationwide. Their much ballyhooed Super Bowl ad will feature Kevin Federline, America's first man of gold digging, portraying a rapper who loses his fortune and is forced to work in a fast food restaurant.

Not surprisingly a group called the National Restaurant Association has gone the way of the caveman and protested the negative portrayal of fast food workers in the upcoming ad.

So is this a case of art imitating life and then being imitated by life? Or is that just life?

Either way, I'm still not sure what type of insurance any of these companies sell.

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