Geico crushes its new pre-roll ads for 'viewing convenience'

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The Martin Agency condenses spots in third series to keep people watching online.

Geico’s slogan is "15 minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance." But what can the brand communicate in 15 seconds? Evidently, a lot.

The Martin Agency’s new pre-roll campaign for the insurance provider made its online debut today and with five, 15-second spots manages to explain that Geico also handles renter’s insurance, has a mobile app that has a "remarkably intuitive" interface and gives consumers "24/7 access to licensed agents."

This all happens while supermarket employees, bagpipe salesmen, racquetball players and potters get physically crushed by a wall bearing Geico’s logo in digital, pre-roll spots. It’s all part of the agency’s third attempt at making pre-roll films watchable—even enjoyable—with the "Crushed" campaign.   

"We weren’t sure what to call it for a while. Initially, we called it ‘Fresh Squeezed,’ but we were worried that that would get confused with Ice-T and lemonade, so ‘Crushed’ came about," said Geico CMO Ted Ward.

In 2015, Martin created the "Unskippable" campaign, a Grand Prix-Lion winning effort that made pre-roll ads impossible to skip because they were already over. The sophomore effort, "Fast-forward," comically cut out the middle portion of the ad to immediately jump to the conclusion.

This year, the ads begin with a narrator announcing, "The following ad is being condensed for your viewing convenience."

In one spot, a father and son play racquetball against a moving wall that eventually crushes them, but before it does, they banter about how much money Geico saved them. In the extended 30-second cut, the son also congratulates his dad, saying he really crushed it, and the father dramatically responds, "No, son. Geico crushed it."

The same directing duo responsible for "Unskippable"—Park Pictures’ Ian Kibbey and Corey Creasey, a.k.a. Terri Timely—worked on the latest campaign.

"Personally, it’s my favorite of this trio," Ward said, because it’s the strongest visually. "It features our logo in a significant way; there’s no mistaking who this is from." Plus, he added, each one has a visual punchline. "You don’t have to hear a thing," he added. It’s the same strategy the brand and agency uses to grab attention with their TV ads, he said, so the message is communicated even to consumers in crowded sports bars.  

The brand is continuing to invest in pre-roll digital ads, Ward said, because "it’s working for us." Although Ward wouldn’t provide specific numbers on the brand’s digital buy, Kantar Media reports that Geico spent $1.1 billion overall in advertising between January and September 2016, the most recent numbers available.

"I can tell you that we are having a record 18 months of growth," Ward said. "The combination of all the things that we’re doing, we’re beating our competitors, head and shoulders."