Geico: 2007 Runner-up Marketers of the Year

Money Talks in Free-Spending Category and New Customers Flock

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Revenue increased 9.5% in 2006 to $11.1 billion.
Earnings rose 12.9% to $325 million in most recent quarter.
It's all about consistency in message. Geico Corp. VP-Marketing Ted Ward has lived in the same house for 22 years with the same wife for 20 years and has worked at the same company for 24 years. At Geico, he's used the same agency -- Martin Agency -- for 13 years and the same media-buying shop, Horizon Media, for 14 years. Mr. Ward's response: "I must be a creature of habit."

With longevity, there's trust. On the rare long-term agency relationship: "It's a partnership. It was very purposeful hiring them. ... We share a lot of information," Mr. Ward says. "We get all our partners together, and we are all focused. ... I'd like to say one of the strengths I've added is a sense of consistency. We [don't] diverge from the central plot."
WINNER: Nintendo
  1. Apple
  2. Nike
  3. Al Gore
  4. Geico
  5. Unilever

Money talks. Obviously advertisers should never be recognized as successful simply for marketing more. However, the No. 4 auto insurer has jacked up its ad spending a whopping 75% since 2004. Geico's measured media outlay, $501 million, was nearly twice that of any other player in its category in 2006. The Geico case study certainly seems to argue there are times -- especially if you're looking to best the top three -- when coming out strong and loud and everywhere can work to a marketer's advantage.

Market share isn't the only number that counts. Despite being the No. 4 player based on market share, Geico ranks No. 1 in new-customer acquisition. It's also the only brand in the top four to achieve double-digit growth over the past four years -- 13.1%, according to A.M. Best's Aggregates & Averages.

Creative is important, even -- or maybe especially -- in a world of premiums and deductibles. Geico has achieved iconic status with its spokes-characters, while its competitors continue to churn out derivative, banal spots that fail to capture the imagination. An erudite gecko one day and a self-righteous caveman the next. Multiple pitch-creatures to sell car insurance? Geico manages it.
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