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Geico flakes on Brian Orakpo

Every year football fans make a deal with the commercial gods.  For 16 weeks we will face nothing but beer, car, and insurance ads, and then sit through the same spots for the entire season.  Sometimes this results in greatness like the original NAPA know how ad (note the second ad changed NAPA guys and ruined the magic of “a new air filter”).  One company that has made its name on quirky and original ads is the insurance company Geico.  The company has brought us the Geico Gekko, Caveman, deep voice announcer, and numerous other wacky and wild spots.  The question though is why weren’t those creative people assigned to their new campaign with Redskins LB Brian Orakpo.

I am aware that most people don’t know the faces of their favorite football players, wearing helmets can do that to your public profile, but this ad’s main goal seems to be making us aware of Orakpo. The moment when the caveman says “you are Brian Orakpo all pro linebacker” causes immediate cringes. The Geico people are basically saying, “hey we know you have no idea who this is so let us spoon feed you”. Instead of wasting time reinforcing his name how about creating a campaign around Orakpo that is memorable for more than just his name being used.  Instead we are just stuck with another lame caveman joke and Orakpo standing around like a potted plant.  The second Orakpo Geico ad isn’t much better.

In this one we start out with Brian spelling his name on a scrabble board.  See focus groups who complained that they had no idea who this player was in the commercial!  We were able to seamlessly work it into the spot.  Sweet Genius! (Which by the way is the new show on food network for people who enjoy long drawn out critiques of sugar globes).

The major point here is don’t make me sit through advertisements to get to know your spokespeople. Either I know them or I don’t.  That is what makes them pitchmen.  Of course I imagine the main reason to use the Redskins all-pro is that his asking price is far lower than players people actually know like Brady, Brees, Manning, Peterson, or even Rex Ryan.  So take the cheap option even if it means we spend more time during the commercial just letting you know who you are looking at.

Does this mean Vonte Leach is on his way to a McDonalds ad?  That sound you hear is Terrell Suggs’ phone ringing because State Farm needs him in a red blazer.  I’m John Kuhn and I drive a Volvo. That is why I AJ Hawk use Davidoff Cool Water.

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