Commodity Category, High Interest Campaign

In this issue of "What We're Watching" we focus on more great advertising from an unexpected category. Plus, it is fresh, new creative that is entertaining and appears focused on a unique Customer Insight.

To begin, a phenomenal recent advertising achievement has been the ability of Automobile Insurance companies to make their product not only interesting but entertaining. They have accomplished this through an unprecedented level of creative campaigns. These two words are critically important - Creative and Campaigns.

Foremost in this category is GEICO. Hard to imagine a lower-interest category than automobile insurance and an organization with a more generic sounding name than Government Employees' Insurance Company. Yet, GEICO has cornered the creative market with one outstanding campaign after another. Moreover, much of their work actually runs concurrently, often speaking to different audiences and promising separate benefits.

GEICO "Happier Than" Campaign
All marketers secretly love having peers talk about their communications efforts. Even better is to have some external mention of this work, in whatever media. Clearly, most of us were trained to focus on the business results that the communication generates. But we all love to see our work presented in a favorable light. It helps justify the enormous amount of time and effort expended.
Of course, if your work actually becomes part of the public lexicon, than you have really "made it". MasterCard "Priceless" and Absolut Vodka are top-of-mind examples. A clear new entrant into that elite group is the GEICO "Happier Than" Campaign, in particular the "Hump Day" execution featuring the office meandering camel. His unique intonation of "Hump Day" near the commercial's conclusion is likely to become an office event every Wednesday.

GEICO "Everyone Knows That" Campaign
Even though the "Happier Than" Campaign seems very new, GEICO has augmented it with yet another campaign. Frankly, it is stunning to most Marketers to see one organization literally roll out one campaign after another. At the same time, the majority of advertisers are running "one of" executions, quickly forgotten when the next "one of" comes along.
The "Everyone Knows That" Campaign states that consumers saving money with GEICO is a well-known fact, then contrasts that with a "little known" fact, executed in an engaging, humorous fashion. A recent execution features two Owls and a "take" on the classic Abbott and Costello "Who's On First" routine. New executions of this
campaign are already on-air, and further opportunities seem endless. So often the case with a truly great Idea.

Klondike Bars "What Would You Do" Campaign
Tough to go wrong with Ice Cream and Chocolate, yet Klondike goes "above and beyond" with their "What Would You Do" campaign. One of the elements that really sparkles is their total integration of both their name and product into the advertising. You are COMPELLED to mention the brand when retelling the story and the brand name is integral to the Key Copy Words.

Similar to the GEICO campaigns, the "What Would You Do" idea has just endless possibilities for future executions. This is possible because they have uncovered a great Idea AND because that Idea appears based upon a true consumer Insight.

Importantly, we often explain to classes that while great advertising should be based upon unique Consumer Insights, these Insights may not always be immediately visible - apparent. However, in Klondike's case, the Insight appears quite clear.

The Insight appears to be that people will undertake or submit to unpleasant, uncomfortable activities if there is the promise of some reward at its conclusion. This strikes me as both a legitimate and relevant Insight because while it is NOT product related, it DOES directly address what Klondike is promising - a great reward! The advertising communicates this in a humor vein that engages the viewer and whets their appetite for future executions and another Klondike Bar.


1) Hunt for Ideas. Marketers use the term "Big Ideas" and reference one of the
benchmark campaigns. These are easy to recognize in hindsight. Few thought they were witnessing the birth of a "Big Idea" when first presented. What they saw were real Ideas. So, be a hunter for Ideas. "Mighty Oaks From Little Acorns Grow". Start with Ideas, then test your way to the "Big Idea".

2) Seek Out Campaignable Ideas. Our three examples each cry out for "pool outs". Any real Marketer aches to work on these types of campaigns because there are so many opportunities for future executions. That is the secret of Big Ideas - they represent an almost "bottomless pit" of opportunities. When presented with Ideas, always ask your Creative partners how it is campaignable. Optimally, it should be immediately obvious, but Creatives must be address this vital question.

3) Insights are the Foundation of Great Ideas. The Number One topic I speak about is Insights. Often poorly understood by Marketers at all levels, Insights are the cornerstone to enduring Big Ideas. Consider how many products are similar to the Klondike Bar. Yet, they dug for an Insight they could use to present their product in a unique fashion - they are not just Ice Cream, they are a REWARD for a job well- done or, at least, endured. Who doesn't like a reward? This Insight is very similar to the powerful SNICKERS insight that "You Are Not Yourself When You Are Hungry". Significantly, that Insight has also translated into a "top of mind" campaign based upon a Big Idea. So dig for Insights at every opportunity. They are the secret ingredient to great creative campaigns.


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