Leo Goodwin is the original founder of the insurance company GEICO, and he started this company back in 1936. His goal was to provide customers with better rates than they were used to paying for auto insurance. He decided to target select customer groups and sell his business practices directly to them. Employees of the government and military personnel were the first people he went to for customers, which worked well. Goodwin devised a marketing strategy that ended up being so successful that his operating costs were small, thus allowing discounts to be available towards the company's policyholders. The GEICO we all know today operates much the same way by managing their business smartly while passing savings onto their customers.

In the year 1996, GEICO became a subsidiary of a company headed by Warren Buffett, and that is called Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett is one of the biggest and most successful investors in the United States. This property and casualty insurance company was named by Fortune magazine as the most admired in the country, and for two years in a row at that.

When United States military personnel turn to GEICO for their insurance needs, they are treated with respect. As one of GEICO's first customers, the company has remained loyal to the troops by providing military families with discounts on their auto insurance. These discounts are available no matter if the family is involved in a war, or home on their own state's soil.
The best thing about GEICO is that they are not just a property-casualty insurance company. They also offer motorcycle, home, vehicle, boat, apartment, and mobile home insurance, either alone or within a package. Personal umbrella insurance policies are also available.
GEICO Advertisements And The Gecko
GEICO advertisements are seen quite frequently today, both on the TV and heard on the radio. GEICO also uses print ads to get their companies offers across, usually in the form of circulars you get in the mail. Most people are quite familiar with GEICO's line, "fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance".
GEICO ads started out with animated characters that did silly and dangerous activities, such as launching a cannon at themselves. You would then hear a voice-over that said, "We all do stupid things. Paying too much for car insurance shouldn't be one of them." These ads were not long, and generally they were played back to back in sets of two.
The well-known GEICO mascot is a reptile called a DAY gecko. The Martin Agency created this advertisement, and it quickly took off in popularity. Recently, the GEICO mascot appeared in ads as a CGI creature, and this was made by Framestore CFC. The gecko first appeared because of the Screen Actors Guild strike, which took place in the year 1999. The strike at that time did not allow a live actor to be used, so using a cartoon enabled GEICO to advertise their business while not violating strike policies. The very first commercial used actor Kelsey Grammer as the voice of the mascot, with the gecko begging people to stop mistaking him, as a gecko, as GEICO, and to quit calling him. Subsequent ads had the gecko talking with a Cockney accent, because the writers thought their listeners would not expect this. A British actor and comedian named Jake Wood is the current voice of the gecko, and the company has made the gecko more of a working class character. This is to make him appear more human, so as to appeal more to a potential customer.
The creative director of the Martin Agency, Steve Bassett, talked about the newest look for the gecko. He states that the use of animation in computers has helped the gecko in looking more like "the guy next door." He has also stated that the newer gecko looks much more realistic than the very first ones used.
Misdirection is the next most popular advertisement that GEICO commercials tried, and these worked well for the company. When the ad starts, the viewer thinks that it is for something totally different, sometimes for something that's not even a product. Suddenly, the commercial turns into an ad for GEICO insurance. Fictional characters such as Speed Racer and Bill Dutchess have been used before. Real people have also been used, including Tony Little, who pokes fun at himself, and also a married couple who want to separate. The commercial may start out as a hair loss product, but turn into a plug for GEICO. Persons who were fans for the reality show "Big Brother" might have been captured by a commercial that showed a new reality show, this one entitled "Tiny House." They may have been quite surprised when it turned into a GEICO commercial instead.
"Why haven't you called GEICO?" - the end question for most of the commercials featuring fictional products. There were many different ads of 2006, a few of which showed phone service, soda, and different fast foods. No matter what the fictional product, the tagline of "but it won't save you any money on car insurance" was used. This brand of advertising by GEICO uses the same kind of ads that others such as Energizer have used, such as the Energizer Bunny. The caveman is the most recent of all characters for GEICO to use, and one of the first ads of this kind was a 10-second interview with a caveman.
GEICO has always used many different ways to advertise its services to the public. They strive to make their ads funny and memorable, which they have succeeded in doing. One ad in particular is a baseball manager who tells a pitcher that he has to get out of the game, but then tells him good news. That good news is that he has saved money, and he did this by switching to GEICO. Many ads are done by making fun of others that are on TV. Many use actors from real shows and are spoofed in the ad for GEICO insurance. This has included Sebastian Siegel who appeared in Soap Opera.
Another set of ads places an insurance agent in a series of GEICO commercials. Jerry Lambert reads a book that is filled with insurance tales to children who are obviously quite bored. One part of this series has Jerry reading an email, which has the writer asking to see the gecko do the dance "The Robot," saying it would be the bomb (meaning good). You then see the gecko dancing to "Sweet World" by the Comega Men, and then you see the insurance agent attempting to do this very dance. Unfortunately, he does not do it well at all.
GEICO shows their customers that many famous people have used their services by having celebrities endorse their ads. These have included Charo, Charlton Heston, Verne Troyer, Little Richard, Burt Bacharach, Don LaFontaine, and also D.C. Douglas. This way, customers know that GEICO really does offer an excellent service, and that they care about their people, as well.
Above all, however, the Cavemen ads that were pitched by GEICO have been the most successful. The Martin Agency also takes credit for these ads, which focus on a Neanderthal caveman or men who are being portrayed as everyday people in this century. This tagline implies that buying insurance is "so easy, a caveman can do it". In these ads, the cavemen are alive in our society, and are everyday people who do normal things such as eat out, pay bills, and visit a therapist. Where the humor lies in these GEICO ads is that the cavemen are indignant that they are being portrayed as stupid, and try diligently to defend themselves against the stereotype of being dumb.
Another success with these cavemen ads was the appearance of commercial actors, which in turn spawned a series of interactive websites. These sites were written and produced by the Caveman's Crib, a team of GEICO's. In the fall of 2007, a spin-off TV show was produced for ABC television, called Caveman.
My Great Rides is the name of GEICO's 2007 website which is a social networking site aimed for motorcycle owners. You can use this site to talk about your motorcycle and trips you may have taken, post pictures, just talk about motorcycles, and make friends in the process.
GEICO also sponsors a car in the NASCAR Busch Series. This is the number 7 car, with Mike Wallace as the driver. The company has also made a commercial out of this concept, where a young boy says that not only is he one of Mike's relatives, but that he is also a much better driver. The punch line of the commercial is the young boy saying that people think they are saving money with GEICO when they see that number 7 car driven by Mike Wallace. However, when they get sight of him, they will know that Lauren Wallace is indeed the greatest race car driver ever.
Some of these commercials are like an interview. In one, you cannot see the reporter, but you hear him asking the little boy who is supposedly Lauren Wallace, what he happens to think about Mike Wallace. No listener would expect the answer given, which is that Mike Wallace is trying to sell insurance, but he is out to win the race. He also threatens to put Mike "in the wall" no matter what he drives in, if it is in a go-cart race, in the grocery store, or even in a remote controlled boat.
This series also has new stuff planed, one being Lauren ready to strike 100 miles away. He also says he is as fast as lightning in a bottle.
YouTube videos are the hottest GEICO commercials of late. These types of videos show unreal actions, which may be a fight in the hallway of a house between mattresses. Or you might see the one where you watch a bunch of weird expressions, from a webcam, by Brandon Hardesty of YouTube. You will then hear the tagline for GEICO over top of the ad, "There may be better ways to spend 15 minutes online." These ads, like the TV and radio ones, are also shown back to back.
Another set of ads was released by GEICO in September of 2007, which was known as The Real Scoop. Fred Flintstone and Jed Clampett were just two fictional characters to grace these ads in a parody of the show E! True Hollywood Story. Cabbage Patch Dolls are even included in these ads, and they all drive vehicles (insured with GEICO, of course.) Everyone in the commercial is fictitious.
GEICO's Competition
All companies have some sort of competition, and GEICO is certainly no different. You will have heard of Allstate, State Farm, Progressive, Nationwide, and USAA. With GEICO, they may state that the only way to get a quote for their company is to use, unlike Progressive, who claims they offer the rates of not only their company, but the rates of others to compare to.
GEICO's History
For those associated with the insurance company GEICO, Lillian and Leo Goodwin are well-known names. In the mid-1930's, these two were the original founders of GEICO, smack dab in the middle of the Great Depression. This was a very risky time to try and start a business, but the time and effort they put into it really paid off in the end for them. GEICO has grown into one of the highest respected and most successful insurance companies all over the land. Many people wonder what GEICO means - and this can be answered here. It is an acronym for the Government Employees Insurance Company.
Leo Goodwin came up with a personal business plan for the company as he was working in the state of Texas. He knew that by offering low costs for insurance, more customers would come in, but he decided to target a specific group at first. He knew that he could earn a profit while still saving his customers money, and he was very right in that assumption. GEICO was therefore formed in the year 1936 and started out in Washington, D.C.
His wife, Lillian Goodwin, worked right beside Leo in all business aspects to get the company off the ground. Not only did she take care of the accounting and the bookkeeping part of the job, she also worked on the most important part of the company - that is, underwriting insurance policies, setting rates, and issuing those polices. She also helped market those rates to the specific group, which happened to be made up of government employees and the three top grades of non-commissioned military personnel. GEICO's staff was only made up of 12 people after its first year in business, yet they sold 3700 insurance policies within that period of time.
The year 1948 was quite the busy one for GEICO employees. Lorimar Davidson, who was an investment banker and also a personal friend, jumped on board to help find new investors to replace the old ones. One such investor who joined the GEICO team was Benjamin Graham, who worked as a business professor at Columbia University. Warren Buffet had been a student of his at one point, and it was through this relationship that Buffet learned all about this particular insurance company. In the year 1951, Buffet started his involvement with GEICO. This marked a very important event for the company's history.
The story goes that Buffet rode a train to Washington just to learn more about GEICO, but unfortunately the office was closed on the Saturday he arrived. The janitor who was working at the time led him to Davidson, who helped Buffet believe in the makings of GEICO, thus purchasing his first stock in the company.
When Leo Goodwin retired in the year 1958, Davidson became his successor of the company. He presided at the newest company opening, which was headquartered in Chevy Chase, MD, in the year 1959. This newest branch opened 33 years after GEICO got its start.
During the 1960's, GEICO continued on with their success as an insurance company. The one-millionth policy was given out in 1964, and then in 1965, insurance premiums reached a total of $150 million. Smaller offices were opened, so customers who wanted insurance could just walk in, as well as the invention of drive-in offices. The net earnings of the company rose to $13 million by the year 1966.
There were slower times for GEICO, however, especially when the economy weakened and also because of the aggressive expansion the company had enjoyed. The 1970's were a difficult time as both founders, Leo and Lillian, died within a year of one another, and losses were seen throughout the business.
However, GEICO kept on and came out on top despite the difficulties they went through. The experience actually helped strengthen their underwriting activities and helped build up their reputation as a reliable company. In 1976, William Buffet bought a second portion of stock in GEICO, which caused him to be the proud owner of 1 million shares. Lou Simpson became the company's chief investment officer in the year 1979.
During the 1980's, GEICO experienced a slow and steady expansion as they continued their underwriting. Customer service was emphasized largely, and proven by the opening of a 24-hour, 365-day phone service that could handle claims, sales, and service calls. This way, GEICO proved themselves to be as available to their customers as possible.
Olza "Tony" Nicely took over as the new chairman for GEICO in the year 1993. He wanted to expand the reach of the company to pull in more customers, so he started a four-company strategy. He increased the budget for advertising to make GEICO more visible to the United States.
Warren Buffet was definitely pleased the way the company was heading. Since his company, Berkshire Hathaway, was one of the wealthiest in the nation, he put in a large bid for the rest of GEICO's stock in 1995. This caused GEICO to become a subsidiary of them in 1996.
Advertisements for GEICO now flooded the public, through airwaves and mailboxes alike, while the growth of GEICO continued on a daily basis. In 2000, the GEICO gecko made his debut in the television ads, and has since become one of the most well-known icons of the century.
The International Society Hall of Fame welcomed the addition of Leo Goodwin, posthumously, in the year of 2001. His ideas for the company long ago shaped GEICO into what it is today, a successful and favorite insurance company.
Two new offices were opened in the same year, which was 2003. This was also the year when GEICO reached the 5 million mark for their policyholders. Tucson, Arizona was the first location for the office, and then in December, the second one opened in Buffalo, New York. GEICO made a press announcement in 2004 that it would re-enter the auto insurance market for the state of New Jersey. Late that year, GEICO added one more million policies to their books, bringing the total up to 6 million.
The brilliance of GEICO's founders, Leo and Lillian Goodwin, is still celebrated by those who work for the company. GEICO knows how proud they would be of the strength and growth of the business, and the legacy it continues to leave. The staff of 12 grew to over 21,500 associates, who are spread around the country at 12 major locations.
The company continues to rapidly grow, aiming for a bright future. Tony Nicely has remarked that the company's growth is only limited by the time it takes to hire and train knowledgeable workers to help their customers realize the benefits of using GEICO for their insurance needs. The company offers excellent insurance coverage with low monthly premiums, and best of all, great customer service. This helps keep customers coming back for more.
Additional GEICO Information
GEICO is an insurance company based in the United States. The name GEICO is an acronym for Government Employees Insurance Company. However, the word government in the name does not mean that it is a government organization. Rather, it is a private company, founded by Leo and Lillian Goodwin in 1936, to sell less expensive insurance to both employees of the government and to military members of the United States. The Goodwin's targeted this specific group because they started their company during the Great Depression, and these people were more financially stable, thus being less financial risk. Insurance policies were offered to the rest of the public when driving records became easily accessed by computers in the 1970's.
If you are a customer of GEICO, you will experience the personal service of the company, since they tend to prefer to deal directly with their potential clients. This way, the money saved on hiring insurance agents can be passed on as insurance savings to their customer base. There are a small number of GEICO field agents, although most of them are still based near military bases. They are known as GFR's, which means GEICO Field Representative.
This wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway now provides insurance coverage for 10 million vehicles, by providing 7 million policies.