Hustle and Flo
Attention GEICO marketing staff: It's time to completely retire the reptile. Please, I'm begging you. If you're going to blow $1 billion on insurance advertising, please dedicate your budget to your newer campaigns. I was never fond of the smug little green mascot -- oh, how the accent annoys -- and he's has jumped the shark by legions. If you want data to back up this request, look no further than a survey by Stanford researchers. "Americans like politicians more than the irritating little Geico gecko," according to the report.
On the other hand, Liberty Mutual crushes it with Paul Giamatti's voice-over on the "Humans" TV campaign. I admit I'm biased because I'm a huge fan of the Giamatti, but even so, the spots are genuinely funny and the self-deprecating tone works.
And then, of course, there's Flo. Kudos to Progressive for keeping this insurance icon fresh. In what can only be called a brilliant move, the insurer integrated the personality with a Halloween costume-based Twitter campaign with frightening success. People were urged to dress like Flo for the Halloween, and Progressive provided downloadable costume items at a micro-site, as well as make-up tips via videos on YouTube. Impressions on Twitter were in the millions and the campaign got more than 20 percent engagement, according to Progressive. This adds to Flo's already impressive 4.7 million Facebook fans. Enough said.
Des Toups is a writer, editor and expert on insurance, cars and personal finance. He has written extensively about all three for national publications such as MSN and major newspapers such as the Seattle Times. He has been quoted about insurance issues in The New York Times, USA Today and Kiplinger's. Follow him on Twitter @destoups.