What made this spot so good? Geico “Getaway Car” - Martin Agency
A series of articles where I deconstruct examples of excellent storytelling in contemporary advertising.
It’s no surprise that this week humor and absurdity are at the core of this 30-second spot for Geico, the second largest car insurance company behind State Farm. The beloved mascot, a gold dust day gecko with a Cockney accent, voiced by English actor Jake Wood - is not in this story sadly, but the young kid is just as lovable.
The objective: Continue a string of hilarious spots for the campaign “It’s Not Surprising.”
The solution: Stage a classic robbery getaway scene.
The novel concept in this heist is that the thugs use an Uber to make their getaway. The familiar narrator tells us what’s “not surprising” is how much money you’ll save by switching your insurance to Geico.
Goal, action, complication, resolution
Even in this super short story, we get all four of the above. The thieves’ goal is to get away with the goods before the cops arrive.
The classic action of running away on foot turns into impatiently waiting for their Uber to pick them up.
It’s fun to note how chill the millennial is as he seems to be in no rush and has complete confidence their ride will show up, which happens to be the complication.
Because the getaway car was a minute late the story’s resolution implies they will be locked up for years to come.
If you've hit a wall with your writing, run through this checklist. I have these four words written in the corner of my office chalk board. They stare down at me all day long as if they’re saying, "I’m right here when you need me."
Press Play Test
An economical and easy way to ensure if your idea has merit is to test it. It’s easy to pitch an idea to your creative team when you can stand up and act your way through it with funny voices and props. But is the idea good enough without you there to talk it through?
I draw out every story beat using stick figures, throw them in a timeline, record scratch voices and edit it down in Final Cut Pro. This animatic has to pass my ‘press play test!’
Establishing shot - hotel - (from a recent spot.)
I email the video to someone who has no notion of what the concept is. Usually my wife or a friend. Even better if this test audience isn’t in the creative business. I ask just one question: “Do you get it?”
If it passes this test, I know I’m on to something good.
Your turn! What’s your creative process? How do you test ideas before you get into production? Let us know in the comments.