The Geico Cavemen as urbane sophisticate is the commercial hit of the year. Jewcy's Meryl Yourish blogged about their appeal in a post back in July of last year and I've been holding back the laughs for a while now, but more as a reaction to my sense of humor falling short with the cavemen's subtle laugh riot approach. Honestly, they aren't that funny to me. But it would seem I'm definitely in the minority here and since prime time TV favors majority, my two cents ain't worth a whole lot.
Ok, so the cavemen are preferable to the Geico Gecko of yesteryear, but do they outperform the "Celebrity as Translator" campaign with Little Richard? I think not. Then again, the end product being does anyone even know what Geico sells anyways?
I saw recently on an episode of "CBS Sunday Morning" that the two Geico campaigns that I mentioned above are running simultaenously. The reason being that each favors a gender with the translator clips appealing to women more and the cavemen commericials appealing to men. So this would also help explain why I'm not particularly fond of the cavemen.
First, let's remind ourselves that super-high-concept sitcoms are nothing new. Third Rock From the Sun = "We're aliens and we can't tell anyone." Small Wonder = "Our daughter is a robot." These shows achieved relative success, so who's to say "We're cultivated cavemen" can't do the same?
There's even precedent for advertising icons succeeding on other platforms. The news stories about the cavemen's pilot all mention Baby Bob—the one-time dot-com spokesbaby who later had his own sitcom (and later still got back into ads). A friend also reminded me that Ernest, Jim Varney's redneck caricature ("KnowhutImean, Vern?") began as a pitchman before landing a kids' TV show (and then a string of hallucinogenically plotted films—see e.g., 1997's Ernest Goes to Africa).