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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Social Currency: Cavemen on Primetime TV...But Does It Matter?

Peep a short clip of one of the Cavemen- of Geico fame- on the View:

Whether or not you like the campaign, got me thinking that, despite how much quirky characters can win attention from the masses, it can be a dangerous trap to fall into. Seeing it as an end (ie creating a TV show just because people "like" your characters) and not a means to an end. Attention is great, but if it doesn't translate into results, all is lost.

Example: a lot of people love commercials for Bud Light, Miller Light, and (my personal favorite) Miller High Life commercials. But, as funny as I think the latter are, do I drink it? Hmm...

Nike (and in particular Jordan) are some of my all-time favorite commercials...but I haven't bought a pair of either since I was in middle school.

Point being, it's attention getting creative, people talk about those spots, even love them...but do they act? Surely I'm inserting my own bias with these examples, so back to the point- I'm not saying the Cavemen haven't brought any results for Geico. But who is going to watch a TV show based on them? Who cares? :30 of them may be funny...but 30 minutes? Seriously? And even if people watch it...are they switching to Geico?

Anyone else have an opinion to throw in? Will you watch the show? Do you even like the Cavemen? If you're a Geico customer, what does it all do for you?


Anonymous said...

Watched the show, not too bad. I'd like to know what other people think of the show so drop a vote here. Thanks!

Imran said...

I dunno... I think the joke gets old after 2 minutes. It was funny as a commercial.

avin said...

Thanks for the comments. Imran, I'm inclined to agree with you. Beyond more than one or two punchlines, I'm looking for the remote. Highly doubtful they can sustain for a half-hour...let alone a full season of half-hour shows.

But we'll have to see what the response never

Andy said...

This is something I rack my brain over constantly.

Most brand managers agree that participating in culture, opposed to interrupting it is the way forward, but as you say: attention doesn't necessarily equal results.

Here's the thing though: even though results are what an agency is traditionally paid to deliver, as brands relinquish control of their messaging (which they have little choice about) can agencies continue to 'promise' sales figures will reach $Xm through more 'ambient' communications vs communicating direct messages?

Consider the comparison with a human-to-human relationship. You buy flowers, say nice things, take your partner out, but the real relationship is the invisible thing in the background is almost impossible to pin to tangible actions.

So to reframe your question: Should brands invest in exercises like this without knowing if its value can never be truly measured?

(Like a true politician: answer with another question!)

AKI SYSTEMS 2600 said...

i, too, lean closer to reframing the question. you ask, essentially, does this TV show sell insurance? eh. but i ask, does any ad sell insurance? i think another deliverable result to consider is does this deliver TRUST? or SALIENCE? or does it SHIFT IMAGE such and convey a brand that THINKS LIKE ME? or does it deliver FAVORABLE SENTIMENT? those shifts is what will eventually sell insurance, supposing the insurance delivers and is legitmately good (none of those questions are within advertisers' control). i feel what this show does is deliver awareness and buzz cost-efficiently,

or rather, a better question is: does this show cost? or pay? and like it or not, i suspect this show will pay. ie, the cost to get this much airtime for spots, this much talk time would be way out of reach. again...anybody want to have a blog discussion about insurance brands? or do we want to have a public discussion about the insurance with a caveman tv show? the former would never make the cut on this blog. so far, this tv engagement seems to be a medium that can pay back. i may DVR next week's episode, and shift my perceptions of the brand. now, while i haven't picked up the phone to order a ain't the tv spots that was gonna do that anyway (circumstance mostly dictates that and price and delivery dictate that), but a good different relevant product. that part isn't the advertiser's issue. all the adman can do is put the brand in a favorable room in your mind to consider when you're in the space to need a policy. another question is what is geico doing to capitalise on all the buzz and awareness to convert talkers into lookers and lookers into comparers and comparers into signers?

avin said...

aki you make good points, but all are based on the assumption that this will actually be a GOOD show. I didn't catch the premier, but what if it sucks long term? then aren't they accomplishing the opposite of what you're saying? if a good (not even great) show would establish more trust, salience, etc...should this particular show be shit, might it not swing opinion in the other direction? people enamored by humorous 30 second spots suddenly turned off by 30 minutes of crap?

I need to watch it before i continue judging, but i'm not convinced this will lead to positive results for the company.

Whoever has watched it, though, we welcome comments and thoughts on the matter...chime in.

FanChatter said...

I haven't seen the show yet, so I'm talking out of turn, but here are two thoughts...

Seems to me that the show is about the characters and not Geico. I'm frightened by the prospect of Geico being written into the plotline, so I'll assume it won't be (unless Geico ads claiming " easy a Caveman could do it" are woven throughout as a way of setting off the characters -- which is the only way the brand made it into the body of the spots).

This makes me wonder if Geico is paying for anything more than spot inventory and a cross-your-fingers brand association, or if they're even paying at all? Maybe they own the Caveman characters (along with their agency) and they're GETTING paid. Wouldn't THAT be modern.

Secondly, Geico is able to make this move with one of their campaigns because they have so many campaigns running concurrently. If Cavemen was their only bit and it was highly popular and they risked all of it by turning the whole thing into a potentially-sucky TV show, then that would be a big risk.

But Geico has at least three other campaigns going, so they could culturally afford to break this one off. I've always been intrigued by their choice of offering so many different brand "voices" at one time.

Personally, I'd prefer a show about the Gecko.

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