A Return to the Stone Age?

The Aug. 13 edition of Advertising Age brought an interesting issue to the surface when it ran an article about the upcoming ABC sitcom, “Cavemen.”  The new show is based upon characters created for Geico Insurance’s advertising campaign.

“So simple, a caveman could do it.”

Not so simple, apparently, is securing sponsorship for the show.  Headlined “Insurers Shy Away from the Geico Guy,” the story notes that insurers from AFLAC to Progressive and Allstate won’t commit their dollars to “Cavemen,” and for good reason.  Why on earth would they help put a show on the air that is based on a competitor’s ad campaign?

Regardless of the fact that the cavemen don’t have anything to do with insurance and probably aren’t selling too many policies for Geico, they are the company’s “spokesmen.”  They are, for better or worse, what we now associate with Geico these days (frankly, I liked the little gecko they were using for a while).  And regardless of grim reaperish pre-season predictions for the show’s life expectancy, it still makes you wonder if advertisers might be working harder towards the day when their ad buys include more and more “product placement” during programming.  Not as commercials, but as part of the show.

Is that a good thing?  I don’t think so.  We are already bombarded by thousands of media messages every day, and if we can’t even get our favorite mindless entertainment without being subjected to subliminal or, for that matter, in-your-face reminders to call an insurance company, then what do we have left?  We can fast-forward our way past commercials now, but what if they are part and parcel of the show?

Clearly, this would be the end of the world as we know it if it were not for the fact that the decision not to watch this drivel is so simple that even a caveman could do it!

Grant Johnson

Johnson Direct LLC