Geico has made sizable staff cuts in its marketing department, and put its massive media account in review after more than two decades, Ad Age has learned. Months after raising rates in Illinois and shuttering offices in California, and days after a unionization effort by employees, the Maryland-based insurer appears to be rethinking its marketing strategy under a new chief marketing officer.
Along with the layoffs, the insurance brand—which spends more than $1 billion annually on media—has issued an RFP for its media business, according to multiple people close to the situation. It is unclear whether Horizon, which has worked with Geico for over 25 years, will be defending.
According to multiple people close to the company, MediaLink is handling the review. Medialink declined to comment. Horizon referred comment to the client.
The insurer has a new leader at the marketing helm. Geico hired Damon Burrell as chief marketing officer in April. Burrell is a marketing veteran who recently led Estee Lauder’s North American marketing team as CMO.
In a company statement responding to an inquiry about the marketing layoffs, Geico said, "Like most large companies, we continue to review and adjust our staffing to respond to changing customer and business priorities." The company plans to offer associates positions in other departments when possible and will also provide severance benefits and outplacement services, it said.
The company also said it has "not ended relationships with any of our media or marketing partner agencies."