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Posts Tagged ‘Geico’

KIA Hamsters Shape Up for PR Red Carpet

The PR industry has its share of “It” factor sensations just like Hollywood, the music business and television. In today’s public relations, these aren’t compelling and highbrow artistic ideas that transform our culture like Apple’s legendary “1984” commercial or Coca-Cola’s iconic Mean Joe Green commercial.

Technology has changed many aspects of marketing and public relations. Digitally animated spokespeople, or spokesthings, such as the Geico Gecko and, yes, the KIA Hampsters represent a strange blend of marketing cuteness, humor, accessibility–and in this case Lady Gaga star power–that connects with the public. And it works. Read more

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Mediabistro Job FairLand your next big gig! Join us on January 27 at the Altman Building in New York City for an incredible opportunity to meet with hiring managers from the top New York media companies, network with other professionals and industry leaders, and land your next job. Register now!

The PR Police Power of Self-Awareness During a Pot Festival

Effective PR requires two critical elements: knowing your audience and the ability to accept reality. Too often brands, celebrities and companies misidentify customer sentiment and lose any opportunity to create good will by being tone deaf, arrogant, or dishonest. (Or, in the case of Lance Armstrong, all three.)

So kudos to the Seattle Police Department, which—as we reported last week—implemented a uniquely audience-specific, creative and realistic Twitter campaign in anticipation of last weekend’s very public Hempfest. The celebration came on the heels of a ruling that legalized marijuana in the state of Washington last fall.

Knowing the penchant stoners have for snack foods, the Seattle Police Department handed out 1,000 free bags of Doritos sporting stickers informing participants that they shouldn’t drive while high or give weed to minors and—oh yeah—don’t forget to have fun, either. This isn’t polished marketing Geico green lizard PR. This is true public relations outreach. Here is the message the Seattle PD conveyed: We get you. Read more

How Big Data Brought Us the GEICO Gecko

Back in October (when this PRNewser writer dressed as Flo for Halloween), we discussed the popularity of brand mascots like Progressive‘s Flo, Allstate‘s Mayhem and the GEICO Gecko — and what it means for a company when a character created solely for the purpose of selling a product becomes something of a pop culture icon.

Relevant research at the time indicated that, while the public’s love for these quirky insurance pushers undoubtedly helped bring some personality to an otherwise drab product, it didn’t necessarily always correlate with sales.

Now, thanks to a revealing interview in AdAge, we’ve learned that there may be a more direct correlation between the Gecko and his company’s sales. The spokes-lizard was never intended to be the longstanding fixture he has become. But, as GEICO CMO Ted Ward explains in the interview, the ever-improving marketing tool known as data analytics made it clear that The Gecko was making an impact:

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Can the ‘Dell Dude’ Save the Brand?

How much influence does a brand spokesman really have? For example, would we still hate GEICO with a violent passion even if we’d never seen that stupid lizard? Maybe.

But sometimes struggling brands need to play up the nostalgia. We can all agree that Dell, famous maker of crappy computers, is on a bit of a downslide, but actor Ben Curtis–who made a name for himself as the brand’s slacker spokesman during the early 00′s before confirming all sorts of negative stereotypes by getting himself arrested for trying to buy marijuana while wearing a kilt–thinks he knows what the company needs to do: rehire the “Dell dude!”

In his own words, “American loves a comeback, and nothing would be better for Dell than to bring back the face of their company.”

His proposal: reposition Dell, long seen as the go-to option for kids entering college or companies that don’t want to spend too much on in-house tech, as a mature company making products for mature people. Create a series of ads that highlight the perpetual college student’s move into the corporate world, casting him as an outsider in a business suit and showing how he manages to succeed thanks to all his great Dell products.

Would this plan work? We can all joke about an actor reaching for 15 more minutes of fame, but seriously: How would you remake Dell?

One final, fitting note: Despite Curtis’s love for the brand that gave him a career, he identifies as a proud Mac user.

What Do Commercial-Inspired Halloween Costumes Mean for Brands?

As the weekend approaches, you’re likely planning your costume for an upcoming Halloween party (or if you’re like us, you started planning in July). This PRNewser writer went to her first Halloween-themed extravaganza of the season as Flo from the Progressive Insurance ads (picture below).

I initially chose the costume simply because I think Flo is adorable (in a creepy, Stepford Wives sort of way), and because a recent donation to Locks of Love left my hair just short enough to pull it off. But then my costume choice got my PR-oriented brain thinking — superheroes, storybook characters, and familiar faces from TV and movies are always popular costume choices, but what does it mean from a PR and branding standpoint when a character created solely for an ad campaign becomes enough of a pop culture symbol to warrant Halloween costumes?

Insurance companies seem to have the market cornered on popular mascots (probably because insurance is duller than dirt without them). GEICO‘s Gecko, Progressive‘s Flo, and Allstate‘s Mayhem bring personality and humor to an otherwise much-maligned product, and however people might feel about insurance itself, they adore these characters. Case in point: while wandering around a costume shop, I saw a pre-made, pre-bagged “Insurance Lizard” costume hanging between the ever-popular Jack Sparrow and Spiderman.

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