Geico’s Huge Ad Budget Pays Off: The Gecko to Overshadow Allstate’s Mayhem

A gecko, cavemen and pigs: only three of Geico’s many branded characters who appear in the whimsical advertising campaigns designed by The Martin Agency. Backed by Warren Buffett and a media budget of almost $1 billion, Geico is slowly but surely inching its way past Allstate (who currently holds the No. 2 spot in auto insurance behind State Farm).

Geico has used advertising to propel itself up the auto insurance ladder. The turning point came in 1996, when Mr. Buffett made Geico a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. Money was no longer an object when it came to growing the business. At that time, Geico controlled less than 3% of the market; in 2012, the company held over 9%.

Geico is spending more than any other company in the category, pushing the savings message across every advertising campaign. With multiple campaigns running simultaneously, the company is, “trying to stay ever-present in the consumer’s mind but not bore them and have them just tune out yet another Geico ad,” said Chief Marketing Officer Ted Ward.

The Martin Agency asserts that, “people can now accept more complex brands with multiple, distinct narratives highlighting various aspects of the brand.” They’re right. With its current campaigns, Geico has passed Allstate for the first quarter, writing $4.72 billion in auto direct premiums, compared with Allstate’s $4.53 billion, according to business-data company SNL Financial.

Check out a few of Geico’s current ads:



Ultimately, the creativity behind the Geico campaigns attracts attention without wearing-out. Potential customers receive a steady stream of varied content, ensuring that their interest isn’t compromised by repetitive pitches. The strategy has been successful enough to encourage other agencies (Allstate, Progressive, and State Farm) to follow suit. Geico, however, is the one reaping the rewards as the company moves up the ranks of the auto insurance industry.

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