Geico Insurance (US)

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Geico is a leading US insurance group, specialising in passenger automobile cover. The company has expanded dramatically since the 1990s, primarily through expansion of its highly effective direct insurance service, operated by mail, telephone and online. By bypassing agents' commissions, the company keeps costs very low, and passes on most of the benefits to customers, significantly undercutting the premiums charged by its main competitors, State Farm and Allstate. It has also established a strong presence in the popular consciousness of ordinary Americans with a barrage of oddball advertising campaigns and memorable slogans. The first to attract widespread attention featured Neanderthal cavemen transplanted to modern-day America and ran for several years. Numerous other campaigns have followed, each with a different theme, often running concurrently and promoting different Geico services. In 2016, Geico overtook AT&T and Verizon to become the top-spending advertising brand in the US. The company is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate controlled by legendary investor Warren Buffett.

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Berkshire Hathaway

Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 7th Jan 2016: Ads of the Week: "Flextacular". The Martin Agency's campaigns for direct insurer Geico just get odder and odder. Not all the concepts work, but new ones appear so often it hardly seems to matter. The latest features a couple of oddball bodybuilders, and a new vocabulary based around the friendly appellation Bro'. Also, proof that changing to Geico can enhance your life in ways you'd never expect. Learn the whole Brocabulary by clicking through at the close.

Adbrands Weekly Update 2nd July 2015: The 2015 Cannes Lions Festival finished off on Saturday night with a big blowout of awards. The Film category had two Grand Prix winners. The Martin Agency's four-seconds-plus "Unskippable" campaign for Geico took one of the pair of Grand Prix in Film, satirising pre-roll ads on YouTube and elsewhere. They can't be skipped after four seconds because they're already ended - but you wouldn't want to skip because of what happens next. The second went to F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi's mash-up/homage to many of the most celebrated photographs of the 20th century, recreated in an extended ad for Leica

Adbrands Weekly Update 5th Mar 2015: Ads of the Week: "Unskippable: Family". The Martin Agency have long excelled at the comically absurd in their multiple prolific campaigns for insurer Geico. This latest series is a post-modern riff on the idea of "skippable" ads, those commercials which TV viewers fast-forward through to get back to the main programme. Here's one ad you wouldn't even want to skip. Top marks to the whole family - especially the kids - for not cracking up. You can catch up with two more funny executions over on our Facebook page. 

Adbrands Weekly Update 6th Mar 2014: Warren Buffett slipped from the top couple of places in Forbes' annual rich list - he ranked 4th in the latest survey, behind Bill Gates, telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim and Inditex founder Amancio Ortega. However his investment vehicle Berkshire Hathaway reported its best performance for several years in 2013. The economic resurgence in the US powered a 32% jump in profits to $19.5bn, on combined revenues of $182.5bn. Most of the businesses in Berkshire's extensive portfolio had a good or great year, but one of the best performers was its insurance subsidiary Geico. In his letter to shareholders, Buffet revealed that Geico has now overtaken Allstate to become the #2 US auto insurer by earned premiums behind State Farm. Geico's total rose 11% to $18.57bn, compared to Allstate's $18.45bn. The crucial difference though is the fact that the vast majority of Geico's business is generated online rather than through the armies of agents employed by its two main rivals. Pretax earnings almost doubled in 2013 to $1.1bn.

Adbrands Weekly Update 10th Oct 2013: Ads Of The Week: "Napoleon". We're lost in admiration over the sheer volume of advertising and the variety of different concepts, that The Martin Agency keeps churning out for Geico. Every one a winner as well. Joining the humpday camel, the gecko, the pig and and the insurers' numerous different catchphrase series, here's yet another hilarious concept, in which absurdly animated paintings promote the benefits of purchasing the organisation's insurance. How do they keep it up?


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Background

Free for all users | see full profile for current activities: The Geico name is an acronym for Government Employees Insurance Company. The business was founded in 1936 by husband and wife Leo and Lilian Goodwin to offer discounted automobile insurance by mail to employees of federal government and senior military personnel, two groups calculated to be a considerably safer risk than the public at large by virtue of their jobs. The business prospered, and the Goodwins retired in 1958, passing control of Geico to investment banker Lorimer Davidson. He oversaw a period of rapid expansion during the 1960s, as Geico established sales and service offices around the country. In the 1970s, however, the company opened its services for the first time to ordinary civilians, and quickly discovered how much more of a risk they were than federal employees. Geico experienced a series of dramatic underwriting losses, coming perilously close to bankruptcy towards the middle of the decade. 

Under new CEO William Snyder, the company recovered by launching a new program designed to eliminate risky clients. As a result, Geico still has a reputation for being picky about its customers, and is quick to increase premiums for difficult or accident-prone clients. In 1996, the company was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway, the investment group run by famed financial guru Warren Buffett. In fact, Buffett already had more than 40 years experience of the business. His career as a professional investor was reportedly launched with a $10,000 stake in Geico in 1951. Over the following years he steadily accumulated more shares until taking full control in 1996. That acquisition led to a new period of expansion for the company, as well as a huge boost in Geico's marketing.


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