THE NUMBERS: Geico insures about 10% of the vehicles in the U.S. and almost 9.5 million homes. The brand, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, spent $618 million on measured marketing in 2008. First-half spending was up 2.8% to $273 million.
THE KEY LIEUTENANTS: Bill Brower, Geico's director of advertising, is responsible for managing the relationship with the company's media group, Horizon. Keith Slonski is the director of online marketing, and runs the internal group behind all of Geico's digital work, including its search efforts, its website, and its banner advertising. And Amy Furman, Geico's director of database marketing, drives all of the data-driven programs, working with its CRM shop Merkle.
THE CHALLENGE: The prospecting market in the insurance industry is very small, so companies find themselves fighting to steal one another's customers. But with the current economic situation being what it is and consumer trust in industries like financial services and insurance not at all-time highs, consumers are going to be less inclined to switch insurers, even if the rates are lower.
THE AGENCIES: Geico has worked with independent media shop Horizon for the past 17 years, and database management firm Merkle, another independent, for eight years. But Mr. Ward has worked directly with Interpublic Group of Cos.' Martin Agency, its creative agency of record, for the past 16 years, creating some of the more memorable TV spots in recent memory.