Commentary

If It's Wednesday, Time to Fire Up the Geico 'Hump Day' Commercial

There’s a lot to love about Wednesdays. You can get two cinema tickets for the price of one in the UK, for starters, plus it means the end of the working week is in sight. We’re halfway through the weekly grind, or ‘over the hump’ as our American cousins would say. You can almost taste the weekend.

But US insurance company Geico has a very special reason to celebrate Wednesday. Their ad ‘Hump Day’ has enjoyed extraordinary success since its launch on May 22, attracting more than 1.62 million shares and 5.3 million views – a very high share rate of around 17%.

Geico has had huge success before with a campaign featuring Dikembe Mutombo, and its Piggy commercial, so it’s hardly surprising that a talking camel celebrating the halfway point of the working week would attract a lot of interest. But what’s most surprising about this campaign, created by The Martin Agency, is when these shares occurred.

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The average social video usually attracts most of its shares within the first few days. In fact, according to Unruly's Q2 report, the most successful ads attract a quarter of their shares in the first three days, and sharing increases as the week goes on. This pattern is so firm, you can usually predict whether a video is going to be a success or not by how it performs in its first week.

Not Geico’s “Hump Day.” Unlike the vast majority of branded videos, which usually peak on Day 2 and experience a rapid social decay in the weeks that follow, the ad has attracted a huge spike in sharing activity on every Wednesday since launch, continuing to spread Geico's brand message week after week.  

Amazingly, more than 67% of the “Hump Day” shares since the commercial debuted have happened on Wednesday. (Stranger still, the line chart tracking the number of shares resembles a series of camel humps.)

Pretty cool stuff, right? But has it ever happened before? We can only think of two videos which have also attracted such significant peaks and troughs consistently on a particular day.

The first, and I am sorry to bring this up, is Rebecca Black’s annoyingly-catchy music video “Friday,” which you will not be surprised to learn has enjoyed a burst of sharing activity at the end of the working week ever since its launch in September 2011 (talk about starting your weekend on a low note). It’s been seen over 55 million times on YouTube.

The other is Budweiser’s 9/11 tribute ad from the 2002 Super Bowl, which trends around the same date every year. So what does this mean for advertisers? Can we now expect a flurry of ads named after and celebrating the remaining days of the week in the hope of sustaining their ‘shareability’ beyond the normal early viral peak? If they are anything like "Friday," I sincerely hope not! 

David Waterhouse is the head of content and PR for London-based Unruly, a video technology firm. MediaPost Online Daily blogger P.J. Bednarski is on vacation and will return Aug. 7.  

1 comment about "If It's Wednesday, Time to Fire Up the Geico 'Hump Day' Commercial ".
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  1. Darrin Stephens from McMann & Tate, July 31, 2013 at 11:54 a.m.

    It seems to make sense the number of GEICO hump day ad shares goes up on Wednesday, but what about the number of total views. What does that graph look like?

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