The Geico Gecko has made his way to viral videos. Geico, the auto insurance company continues to gain market share through aggressive and persistent marketing. At the center of it’s marketing activities is the iconic Gecko – the lizard with the British accent that seems to be everywhere. Now he’s on YouTube and Metcalfe and…
The Richmond-based Martin Agency has created a series of viral video promotions that inserts the Geico Gecko in a number of popular viral videos like the Gecko dancing in the background with Numa Numa guy (27 millions views) or the Gecko as any one of the popular laughing baby videos or the Gecko taking a picture of himself every day for two years parroting any one of the popular viral videos created by people who actually took the time to take a picture of themselves everyday.
Will these viral videos work? I doubt it – for a number of reasons. There is nothing new here. Every time something succeeds as a viral video a hundred people copy, mimic, lampoon, ‘pay hommage’ and otherwise abuse the concept until it becomes a tired cliche. The first time I saw one of the videos of the daily transformation of someone over a period of months I was mezmerised – it was inventive, interesting and showed a lot of commitment (and free time). Now there are probably 100 versions of this video and it’s lost its appeal. The Gecko version of this video is worse because they didn’t really try that hard – I think they had five or six Gecko outfits (I suppose the wardrobe department had a limited budget) that they repeated so you were bored after the first five seconds. The audio for the laughing baby is great – but you could sync anything or anyone to that laugh and make viewers laugh. The accordion video above - I can’t imagine who would forward that to a friend. “Hey Biff, you have got to see the Gecko on the accordion… he’s eating nachos man!!!”
Viral video is an experiment for most marketers. Geico has the advantage of having a famous icon that is so well known that brand awareness occurs simply by seeing the lizard. To the extent that people actually do forward these videos to other people then they will have succeeded in exposing the Geico brand to those viewers. That said, Geico runs the risk of associating their brand with something that is less than clever and worse, over-exposing the brand icon to the point that the Gecko could start to lose it’s appeal.