The onslaught of car insurance commercials can be largely attributed to GEICO and the introduction of its mascot, Gecko, which has showcased the profitability of comical insurance advertising.
The use of commercials to promote insurance companies and their offerings was done long before car insurance companies came up with unique ways to promote their brand. Initially, car insurance commercials all had a standardised approach to advertising.
We have all seen retro car insurance commercials, which would start at the scene of the accident and show distressed faces. Thereafter, a car insurance expert would either reveal themselves or be introduced as a voiceover giving advice on how the accident could have been avoided. In some cases, the car insurance expert would detail how the costs to fix the damage caused by the accident could have been avoid if the person was covered by X car insurance company.
The commercials did not have much of an impact, as they were relatively similar and made it difficult to differentiate one from the other. However, in 1999, that changed when GEICO introduced its mascot, Gecko, and aimed for laughs rather than shame at the lack of knowledge by the public on car insurance.
Following GEICO’s introduction of its mascot, the company’s stock increased, which is believed to have positioned the insurance company as the second biggest automobile insurer in the world. Moreover, the commercials encouraged other companies to adopt a similar advertising template, with the differentiator being the mascot used and the manner in which the mascot would direct the commercials.
An example of this is the difference between GEICO’s Gecko-fronted commercials and those created by Progressive Flo. Both go for laughs, but the narrative and worlds are different. Therefore, it could explain why it feels like there are so many car insurance commercials, as they are all different. This ultimately makes each one all the more noticeable and interesting than the other.