When it comes to brand mascots, there aren’t many as well-known as Geico’s gecko. The little animated lizard first appeared in 1999 with his Cockney accent and has been featured in numerous campaigns for the 85-year-old insurance firm since. In marketing, however, it’s important to keep things fresh, so Geico has been actively exploring other creative campaigns in between its gecko spots. Its latest commercial, for example, discusses the problem a couple has with an animal in their attic – except that “animal” is actually Animal from The Muppets, and he’s frantically drumming away.
As Adweek describes, Geico’s Animal spot is part of a new series in which the company utilizes clever wordplay to demonstrate potential problems that their insurance policy can help homeowners with, especially if they’re willing to “bundle with auto insurance and save.” For example, an “Aunt Infestation” spot highlights hypercritical aunts and “Noisy Pipes” involves several bagpipe players.
Leveraging the star power of The Muppets, which Disney now owns, shows that Geico is willing to invest in licensing for the right characters or IP. Spending money to feature a cameo from Animal likely speaks to a strategy to cater to older audiences, as consumers under age 35 are not going to be as familiar with Animal or The Muppets in general given that the show was most popular in the ‘70s and ‘80s.
Interpret’s New Media Measure® shows the Geico brand has more traction among Millennials and Gen Z consumers than either Gen X or Baby Boomers. Moreover, for Gen X (among whom The Muppets likely resonates most), the discrepancy with competing insurance firm State Farm is considerably larger than that competitive gap in other age brackets. Targeting older consumers with its advertising makes sense for Geico, as older Americans typically have higher incomes and Gen Xers tend to spend more of their annual income.