Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Battle of the Insurance Commercials

I enjoy watching insurance commercials. Why? Because they involve two cutthroat worlds - insurance and advertising. Sometimes, I wonder just what the hell some advertisers were thinking when they created certain insurance commercials and campaigns And there's those that I love.

Here is a sample of some notables:

The Aflac Duck: This is one of the first ones I remember. The duck made his debut in 1999, with the squinty-eyed, growling comedian/actor Gilbert Gottfried. I know the insurance company says it's a duck, but really, it looks like a goose. Whatever. It's a clever campaign, as it includes the repetitive "Aflac...Aflac...Aflac..." quacking, a cute duck, and even celebrities. Gottfried was fired earlier this year when he Tweeted some jokes about the Japanese earthquake/tsunami catastrophe.

Gottfried gets on my nerves, but the duck was OK. Aflac's logo now even incorporates the mascot.

Flo: Personally, I find this hairspray and too much make-up wearing woman annoying as hell. Flo debuted in 2008 for Progressive. I really don't get these commercials, as they star Flo - an insurance "cashier" selling boxes of insurance. I would think this is not very good advertising. I mean, who wants insurance out of a damn box?

Although I'm not a fan, I will say the commercials that include the two insurance agents from a rival company are pretty funny. The one where one of them jumps behind bushes and the other ducks in the bed of a truck is good for a chuckle.

The Gecko: GEICO sounds like Gecko. So why not make the lizard your mascot? He made his first appearance around the same time as the duck back in 1999. Kelsey Grammer was the original voice of this reptile. Although many think he speaks with an Australian accent, it's actually a British-Cockney accent. The accent of the working class. I don't find the Gecko as annoying as the Aflac duck, and I love the commercial where he runs into the Taco Bell Chihuahua.

Pedro Cerrano: Okay, had to make the Major League reference here. You also might know this guy from TV shows The Unit or 24. To me, the guy will always be baseball bashing Pedro Cerrano. Sorry. These commercials were pretty boring in the beginning, starting in 2003. He always says, "That's where Allstate stands." or  "Are you in good hands?" Maybe it's his cool demeanor and baritone voice, but the man commands respect. And if you don't buy Allstate insurance, he just might beat you with a baseball bat.

Mayhem: This is probably my favorite, as I love watching shit blow up. Allstate probably decided to balance the good with some bad in 2010. And Mayhem is REALLY bad. In these commercials, a badass villain in a suit is Mayhem personified, and he represents various dangerous like a deer on the road or an angry GPS unit. The best, in my opinion, is when he represents a hot girl jogging. He's still wearing his suit, but also donning pink weights and a pink headband. A teenage boy is distracted and slams his car into a pole. Classic.

The Cavemen: These guys just won't go extinct! They were funny at first, when they made their first appearance in 2004, but overexposure made them tiring. The fact that they tried to make a TV show with these cavemen is pretty pathetic. They are still using the cavemen in their advertising, and in fact, the mayor of Homer, Alaska gave a caveman a key to the city while filming a commercial on the famous boat, The Time Bandit.

Maxwell: I really like this one. It's where they do their own version of the "This Little Piggy" nursery rhyme where one of the pigs cried "wee wee wee" all the way home. The pig's name was Maxwell, and he annoyed the hell out of the soccer mom that drove him home.

The Nationwide Guy: Nationwide Insurance calls this campaign the World's Greatest Spokesperson in the World. I'm not joking. We all first saw him during the Olympics last year. I want nothing more in this world than Mayhem and Pedro Cerrano to kick the shit outta this idiot. Does Nationwide really think this moron makes me want to buy their insurance? The guy is beyond irritating. Nationwide might be on my side, but I still hate their spokesman. I wish Flo would kick him in the nuts while the duck and gecko eat him alive. Go away. Now.

State Farm Singing: Why do advertisers believe people singing this stupid jingle about State Farm being a good neighbor and being there completely out of tune and defying the laws of reality makes you want to buy? Although I don't particularly like most of these commercials, I do find the one where the guy and his girlfriend are making wishes about their ideal versions of each other pretty funny.

Travelers Dog: Cute and endearing. Traveler's got it right when they showcased a cute dog trying to protect his most prized possession (a bone) while the song Trouble plays in the background. He even rides a bus to put his bone in a safety deposit box, only to cutely toss and turn that night. Finally, he keeps it in his cute dog bowl with the Traveler's umbrella. Memorable and sentimental. One of my favorites. Cute.

Snoopy: The one that started it all. MetLife employed Snoopy in 1985. Maybe I love these commercials because I'm such a huge PEANUTS fan. Or maybe it's because MetLife named their three airships Snoopy One, Snoopy Two, and Snoopy Three. In a recent advertising/marketing poll, Snoopy topped the list of most appealing product spokesperson/mascot, beating out the talking M&Ms and even Dos Equis beer spokesman, The Most Interesting Man in the World.


Anonymous said...

I love the Mayhem commercials. And Dean Winters is hot.

Shakey shakey. Shakeyshakeyshakey.

The Desert Rocks said...

Cute recap of why I use other insurance companies....Mercury, Aetna and some other underrepresented company. I mute all my commercials but we always enjoy the Peking duck one and the Gecko.

Jay Noel said...

Riann: That's a great one. I think that's the first commercial I ever saw of Mayhem.

Eve: I could do ten posts on some of the local car insurance commercials I've seen. Even worse than the cash advance ones.

Milo James Fowler said...

Gimme that Aflac duck -- he rocks it. The Geico ones are a close second for me.

Jay Noel said...

My problem isn't with the duck, per se. I think it's just Gilbert Gottfried I hate.

Miranda Hardy said...

Maxwell is by far my favorite. I laughed at that commercial the first few times.

M Pax said...

I enjoyed the cavemen ones.

the weirdgirl said...

I would love to see a YouTube spoof video of all these insurance spokespeople kicking the crap out of each other! Flo could definitely take the Nationwide guy. Definitely.

Mr. Shife said...

Right now I really enjoy the Mayhem commercials. Pretty funny stuff. I even slow down the remote when I see Mayhem as I am fast forwarding through the commercials Have a great weekend, Jay.

Phats said...

Love the Alfac Duck! I think Gottfried is found annoying by most people. The cavemen were good but then they tried to do a tv show with them and that flopped

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