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Posts Tagged ‘Mayhem’

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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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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