Great Moments in Advertising

The best part of having a DVR is skipping commercials, but once in a great while something is intriguing enough to make me to stop and rewind. Most reliably I stop for VW, Apple, and the celebrity Geico ads. My favorite Geico spokesperson was Peter Frampton — a little sad for him, but funny for us — until I saw the Mrs. Butterworth spot, which stole my heart. She turns every comment into something about pancakes, syrup, or glass bottles, and the very best moment comes at the end: when the Geico logo comes up on the screen she says “Oh dear, someone has put a logo over my face.” Blatant product cross-promotion aside, it’s hysterically funny.

I don’t know how effective these ads are in terms of generating sales. On the plus side, I’d guess they’ve created major, durable name recognition. I never forget who the advertiser is, which is certainly something funny ads struggle with. (We all remember herding cats, but do you know what the company was?) On the negative side, they have several entirely different advertising campaigns running simultaneously, which makes them look schizophrenic. Also, while the style of the ads skews young, I am not sure if anyone under 30 even gets the jokes. Do they know who Charo, Frampton, or Little Richard even are?

That said, I stop my Tivo to watch their ads and now I’m blogging about one of them. I’d say that qualifies as effective.