Geico's Caveman Character To Make Return During 'Sunday Night Football'

If you’ve ever found yourself awake at night, still bothered by something somebody said years ago, you might find yourself relating to a certain insurance mascot more than you would have imagined possible.

A lot has changed since Geico first introduced the popular Caveman character in a 2004 campaign to get people to sign up for insurance online, but the Caveman is still losing sleep over the brand’s “So easy a caveman can do it” line.

Geico is reviving the character with a, two-minute long ad that  will run during NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” broadcast Dec. 24 as well on YouTube Live and other social channels. The campaign rollout will begin with a YouTube playlist of legacy Geico commercials on the brand’s channel Dec. 23 in order to refamiliarize fans with the character.



“Today there’s a much more complex attention landscape, and Geico has had to consistently adapt and innovate on all fronts,” Neel Williams, group creative director at Geico’s longtime agency partner, The Martin Agency, told Marketing Daily, adding that the new campaign attempted to take the best parts of the character’s story and bring them to life in new, surprising ways.

The Martin Agency describes the extended new ad, which shows the Caveman arguing with a bedmate (presumably his wife) about participating in a new Geico documentary,  as “more like a network drama” than your typical insurance ad.

(It's not  the first time creators tried to give the character life beyond the ad format, but the short-lived “Cavemen” ABC sitcom was regarded by some critics at the time of its 2010 release as one of the worst TV shows ever made.)

The Martin Agency copywriter Graham Unterberger added that “Late nights, hours of YouTube research, and a dose of dumb luck,” went into the project. “We were actually working on another Geico project that featured a small Caveman cameo when a unique media buy came through on a tight timeline. After hangin’ with Caveman on set, everyone left wanting more, and we collectively decided a two-minute long-form ad was the only plausible way to revive the character.”

From there, the most challenging aspect of bringing the campaign to lif was “was capturing the magic of his original tone, while imagining what his life has been like since we last saw him,” which led to questions like  "Where did he live? Who was he with? Was his gripe with Geico still fresh, or something he’d worked through on a darkness retreat in Joshua Tree?” according to The Martin Agency Creative Director/Art Director Dustin Dodd.

“These aren’t normal questions you ask about advertising creations…So of course, we asked. And we think that process got us to weird and wonderful places,” Dodd added. He explained that while Geico and the agency considered a number of possible directions, each centered around the character “being begrudgingly thrust back into the limelight.”

The Caveman’s last appearance for Geico was a one-off appearance in a 2019 “Best of Geico” campaign celebrating the brand’s favorite work and characters in preceding years. This time, the character won’t be making such a quick exit. The two-minute ad was designed to set up a future narrative arc and leave viewers wondering about how the character will react to being placed in the spotlight once again.

In addition to highlighting Geico’s coverage options across a number of insurance items, and building anticipation for the story’s next chapter, The Martin Agency Creative Director/Copywriter Graham Unterberger said he hoped the ad left viewers with some empathy for the Caveman.

“Back in the day, he was so clearly the punchline of the joke. And he definitely still is. But we’re hoping people are surprised by this spot,” he said, alluding to marital drama as subject matter during prime-time football. Then there are viewers who “might actually feel something after riding Caveman’s rollercoaster of emotions. Or at least think to themselves 'This thing is still going on?' 45 seconds into it. Either one’s a win.”

Next story loading loading..