Sunday, September 1, 2019

Animal instincts

I was watching TV the other day – probably a football or baseball game – when one of those Geico gecko commercials came on.

There's a ton of them, and some of them are actually humorous enough to bring a smile to my face. Especially if the game I'm watching isn't all that exciting and my attention span is drifting.

But, you know, never play down the power of a green lizard speaking to you with a Cockney accent about insurance, I always say. And I do. I always say that.

Despite the gecko's overabundant screen time and clever sales pitches, I've never been tempted to purchase any Geico insurance.

I kinda miss the days of Elsie...
 In fact, when I saw my first Geico lizard commercial, back in the days when I was a young man, I'd never heard of Geico. I thought they were a new outfit trying to make themselves famous with an impossibly hokey mascot that, really, sort of creeped me out.

But, no. Geico – which is actually an acronym for "Government Employees Insurance Company" – has been around since 1936, or before television. Or, perhaps interestingly enough, just in time for World War II and all those government employees wearing uniforms.

I just recently found out that the spokesman gecko has a name – "Martin," after the Martin Company ad agency that birthed him. I have it in the back of my head that I've actually heard him called "Martin" or "Marty" in one of those commercials, although I'm not positive about that. But, maybe. There's just so many of them.

Anyway, it suddenly seems like there's animated animal spokesmen, er, spokes people, er, spokes-imals all over the place.

I grew up with Elsie, the Borden cow, but now we have a blue cow promoting lactose-free milk. Blue cows. I'm not getting that. And she doesn't have a nickname, but I'm game. I'm thinking maybe "Flatulent Free Flossie," but something about that doesn't quite pass the sniff test there. Lactaid does have an effective motto, though: "The milk that doesn't mess with you." Yep.

I probably shouldn't admit that I kinda like these guys...
Speaking of cows, there's Chick-fil-A with its "Eat More Chikin" campaign, which is kind of brilliant, when you think about it. The cows, apparently, are illiterate, which automatically gives them subliminal mass appeal in this country.

I think my favorite animal commercial right now is for Serta mattresses. Serta has those goofy-but-adorable numbered sheep that you count while trying to get some shuteye. This most recent commercial has them cuddling up with you on the bed, stretching and yawning, smacking their lips just like you do when you fall asleep.

And, of course, in a stroke of marketing genius, you can order these fluffy stuffed sheep off the Internet and take them to bed with you, like you did with Teddy bears back when you were a kid.

Yep. I'm watching way too much television...

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