According to “How Advertising Works Our Nerves (In a Good Way)”, Susan Kuchinska claims "the more we can anthropomorphize products, the better we like them.” Kuchinska has a valid argument. Advertisement has to be able to capture the audience attention. Now days companies do this by coming up with out of the ordinary ads. Large companies, such as GEICO, use anthropomorphism to grab the audience's attention. Giving a product Human characteristic will more likely appeal to viewers than any other ordinary factual ad. This paper will examine two insurance advertisements, GEICO “piggy” commercial and the AllState “truth about insurance” commercial. The GEICO piggy commercial will demonstrate how anthropomorphizing a product is more likely to grab viewers’ attention rather than a more factual commercial such as the AllState truth about insurance commercial.
Anthropomorphism and Success
GEICO insurance is a popular insurance company. They are known for excellent coverage, low prices, and outstanding customer service. GEICO gets customers by projecting their values through the media, such as television commercial ads. These ads are usually outrageous but that’s what makes them unforgettable. For example, GEICO’s latest ad “piggy” advertised by the GEICO insurance company. This commercial is silly and humorous, which leaves viewers wanting the product. According to “Humor in Advertising” written by Veronica Olson and Asa Larsson “humor attracts attention.”
The GEICO ad shows a pig who is portrayed as a child getting a ride home, while getting a ride home he cries wee. This commercial demonstrates a known rhyme that mothers tell their children. The GEICO Company’s logo “15 min could save you 15% or more on car insurance” is not usually what’s attracting the customers when watching the commercial. Instead GEICO attracted viewers by asking “could 15 min save you 15% or more on car insurance?” and then answering the question by asking “did the little piggy cry wee all the way home”. Incorporating the rhyme in the commercial insinuates GEICO does save you 15% or more on car insurance.
This commercial also demonstrates anthropomorphism. Anthropomorphism is when an animal or object is given human characteristics, in this case the pig from the commercial. Anthropomorphizing a product is known to keep viewers engaged in what the company is trying to sell. The article How Advertising Works Our Nerves (In a Good Way) written by Susan Kuchinska explains how anthropomorphism is likely to grab the audience attention, ”It seems that dancing raisins, talking cars and the Geico gecko — but probably not subservient chickens — can actually change consumers’ perceptions and attitudes, according to Pankaj Aggarwal (University of Toronto) and Ann L. McGill (University of Chicago)." Anthropomorphism changes the audience's attitude. For instance when seeing a talking pig they automatically become attracted and have a positive attitude. This helps them remember the product. The goal GEICO is trying to achieve is for their audience to associate car insurance with their commercial, that way anytime a person thinks of car insurance they automatically think GEICO. The audience will automatically associate car insurance with their company because they remember the positive feelings they had when watching the commercial.
What Not To Do
Allstate, which is another car insurance company, advertise their insurance in a more factual way. Their commercials, such as “the truth about insurance” commercial do not use anthropomorphism in any way. They simply just describe what they have to offer. This gives the audience knowledge of what the company will provide but like stated before people are more likely to pay attention to outrages humorous commercials than dull factual ones.
Although Allstate does not anthropomorphize, they still have high rates and are just as respected as GEICO. But this could be because Allstate changed strategies. Instead of just having factual commercials, they added Mayhem. Mayhem is a guy in the commercial that shows you all kinds of mayhem people get into. The Mayhem commercials demonstrate why people need Allstate. These Mayhem commercials are daring and humorous.
As stated before “humor attracts attention”. Veronica Olson and Asa Larsson also claim that “humor enhances liking, in fact the link between humor and liking is stronger than for any of the other factors.” The “mayhem” commercials are intended to be humorous to attract customers. For instance the “Pink SUV Mayhem” commercial displays the guy mayhem acting like a young teenage girl who becomes emotional and starts driving destructively. This is a demonstration of how teenage girls can be dangerous on the road if emotional. This commercial is funny because they have a grown man acting like a young girl in a pink car.
Allstate has also changes tactics by trying to appeal to different types of audiences. Allstate’s factual “truth about insurance” ads appeal to an older type of audience and the “mayhem” commercials are directed towards a younger crowd. By coming up with their most recent ad “my bad” they show viewers that their insurance company is for all types of people. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DquD5dg4HMo&feature=relmfu The commercial shows a rugged younger man that gets into a car accident with an older business man. The younger man says he has Allstate and the business man finds it surprising because he also has Allstate. The older man didn’t think the younger man would have such “good” car insurance, he assumed a guy like the young man in the commercial would have cut-rate insurance. The younger man then says Allstate is affordable. This insinuates that anyone can have Allstate because it’s affordable. The message Allstate is trying to send is that whether being young or old, high class or middle class, Allstate is for everyone.
Grabbing the people's attention is a main part in advertisement. Some companies are more successful in it than others. Both companies have great strategies, and they both capture the audience's attention in their own way. Anthropomorphism and humor was GEICO's approach in advertisement. Although Allstate had a more dull approach in their truth about insurance commercial, they changed tactics and added humor to their commercial but still stuck to the facts. Both companies made their commercials memorable. Memorable advertisement means a memorable product, and a memorable product means higher customer ratings.
“How Advertising Works Our Nerves (In a Good Way)” Susan Kuchinska. http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2007/11/how-advertising-works-our-nerves-in-a-good-way.html Web.
“History of GEICO” http://www.geico.com/about/corporate/history-the-full-story/. Web.
“Humor in Advertising” Veronica Olson and Asa Larsson. http://epubl.ltu.se/1404-5508/2005/186/LTU-SHU-EX-05186-SE.pdf. Web.