Geico sells insurance directly. The job of the advertising is to get people, especially young, computer comfortable people, to visit the Geico website when thinking about getting insurance. On the website, people can get a quote and sign up. Given the cost advantage of Geico’s direct insurance model, the quote usually looks attractive.
People will visit the website of the insurance company comes to mind most quickly. We non-consciously use how easily something comes to mind, or mental availability, as a rule of thumb to help us evaluate things like insurance companies. We pay the most attention to and assume the superiority of things that most readily pop into our head.
Geico has taken advantage of the power of mental availability. Geico is growing rapidly, recently surpassing Allstate to become the number two provider of automobile insurance behind State Farm. Geico spends over a billion dollars a year on distinctive, vivid, unexpected, and fun advertising. What’s distinctive, vivid, unexpected, and fun builds mental availability and gets the Geico to brand pop into mind when a young person is thinking about automobile insurance.
Though getting Geico to pop into mind is the primary result of the advertising. A secondary result of the advertising is the impression that young prospects get of Geico when the brand does come to mind. The wacky ads suggest a brand that is relaxed, and irreverent—quite a change from the usual insurance company. The ads also let prospects know that Geico believes they are clever enough and cool enough to enjoy the offbeat jokes.
Geico’s ads generate mental availability, stimulate website visits, create a positive impression, and have fueled its growth.