Who is the GEICO caveman in GEICO car insurance commercials?
GEICO is one of the more widely known car insurance companies on the market, so many people may be wondering why they have such imaginative commercials, and why one of them includes cavemen.
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UPDATED: May 23, 2022
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The GEICO Insurance Caveman is an iconic advertising character appearing in television commercials since 2004. The original caveman character has been expanded to include a whole group of cavemen, and the commercials have become favorites of television viewers.
There was even a short-lived sitcom based on the cavemen, and websites and other marketing items are available depicting these furry characters.
Early in 2004, Joe Lawson of the Martin Advertising Agency began a series of commercials featuring a Neanderthal-like character known only as the GEICO Caveman. The caveman, a young man with a prominent forehead and fur-like hair and beard, is offended at GEICO’s slogan, “So easy a caveman can do it.”
The early commercials featured only this one character, usually looking at a billboard or sign with this slogan and showing his disgust at the statement.
How was the GEICO caveman idea created?
The idea was conceived as a satirical statement against political correctness. The humor of the commercials comes partly from the idea that “tolerance” should extend to a group of people who obviously are no longer living; that even cavemen are protected by political correctness.
While this idea may have offended some people, who saw it as a jab at true tolerance, the overwhelming response to the commercials was positive with most people seeing the humor of the situation.
In fact, the caveman became an overnight success. The caveman was voted “America’s Favorite Advertising Icon” for the year 2008.
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GEICO Caveman Commercials
Capitalizing on the success of the single caveman, subsequent commercials featured several cavemen, a group of friends who represent young, upwardly-mobile people in urban environments.
Many commercials featured at least two of these characters, although the majority of the commercials revolve around the original caveman, showing him engaged in various activities such as traveling, visiting a therapist, and dancing. There have been more than 20 different caveman commercials.
The premise of most shows the cavemen engaged in some occupation when the “so easy” slogan causes dissension. The cavemen engage in everyday activities common to most people, including driving.
The GEICO caveman series of commercials was so popular, the characters are now inscribed on Madison Avenue’s “Walk of Fame”
The GEICO commercials inspired a spin-off in the form of a sitcom entitled, “Cavemen” which had nothing to do with GEICO insurance. The cavemen were thirty-somethings living in Atlanta, battling the prejudice inherent in being different in a modern world.
Despite the popularity of the commercials, the sitcom was a short-lived failure, lasting only part of the 2007 series. Only one of the commercial cavemen appeared in the sitcom. The ABC network, which sponsored the show, canceled the series after only a few episodes.
Later commercials actually spoofed this failure as well, introducing situations in which the “real” cavemen, watching the show on television, laughed at the idea of a show about cavemen. This particular commercial aired during Super Bowl XLII, to the delight of audiences.
Who plays the GEICO caveman?
So just who is the GEICO caveman? The original cavemen were played by Jeff Daniel Phillips and Ben Weber. John Lehr is the most frequently-seen caveman, and Ben Wilson rounds out the cast of cavemen friends. The makeup effects were created by Tony Gardener of Alterian, Inc.
The makeup effects have become recognizable to many, with various products such as t-shirts and other memorabilia featuring the caveman’s face.
The cavemen also have their own websites. One is called “Caveman’s Crib” which features a “vlog” (video log) purported to be by one of the cavemen, and a “photo crasher” feature that allows users to insert photos of the caveman into their own pictures.
GEICO also features clips of the cavemen commercials on its website. The company even sponsored an iPhone app to watch clips of the characters.
The cavemen have also appeared in other media, such as a short video of the group singing “Everything Happens to Me” and the music video for “Let Me Be Myself” by 3 Doors Down.
Why did GEICO have cavemen in their commercial?
The purpose of the advertising campaign was naturally to sell GEICO insurance. During the time that GEICO launched the caveman series, it also had several simultaneous advertising campaigns, including the famous “GEICO gecko” and several smaller themes. It was all for advertising, and GEICO has quite a few popular commercials geared toward selling its insurance.
The results of the direct advertising seem to have been positive, as GEICO sales have spiked over the last ten years.
The true effect of the commercials, however, seems to have been to cement in the public’s mind the name of GEICO and tie it to clever and memorable characters. This may have a positive effect on the company’s sales long after the end of the commercials, by making GEICO a “household name” in large insurance sales.