The first commercial Bek discusses where the Gecko explains that people trust advertising icons but wouldn't trust "some bloke" telling them to check out Geico does seem to go against WOM practices that we have discussed in class. However, after watching the commercial a few times I realized that he wasn't talking about some person on the street talking about Geico, it is talking about how people don't trust traditional TV advertisment personalities but do "trust" or at least pay attention to major icons which would be buzz marketing. Geico differentiates themselves by useing a gecko instead. Geico is not claiming that people don't trust their fellow consumers they are clearly and correctly identifying that people are loosing faith in mainstream advertising and Geico's solution to this is to address it and use viral marketing (the gecko and humerous ads) to combat this problem.
The second commercial Bek talks about for example with the Gecko and the Lizzard. I can understand how this commercial could be viewed as stealth marketing as the Gecko is telling the lizzard what to say when telling people about word of mouth. However, the lizzard is not a hired individual who is physically going out into the world and telling people these great points about Geico insurance. In my opinion this is an ingenious use of WOM. Geico makes use of both Viral Marketing and Grassroot Marketing. The commercial itself is Viral markeing because of its creative nature it gets people talking about it. Furthermore, instead of being stealth marketing the information the Gecko is telling the Lizzard could be used by customer evagelists to spread the word about Geico's insurance.
The third commercial Bek refers to talks about exclusivity. Bek states that by allowing anyone to go to Geico and get a free quote is not exclusivity as the gecko suggests. However, although anyone can go to Geico to get a free quote the exclusivity the Gecko is refering to is that once you go to get a free quote you become part of an exclusive club to save money on your car insurance. Although Geico does not make access to its quotes exclusive, they claim that being part of the Geico group gives you access to exclusive low rates. In my opinion Geico is making great use of the exclusivity principle in that they are not limiting access but they are limiting their low rates to their members only.
Another way Geico uses WOM is through product seeding. I recently registered a new car and not a week later I received in the mail a mock Geico insurance card with my name and the number to call for a free quote. By mailing out info to new car owners they are reaching the individuals with the highest propensity to purchase or at least look into their product.
Bek made some great observations and Geico is a prime example of a company that makes use of WOMM. In my opinion they fully understand WOMM principles and leverage them in a way that is both entertaining and creative.
Tags: WOM word of mouth Word-of-Mouth Marketing buzz marketing viral marketing marketing communication