Posted by & filed under Branding, Case Study, Partnerships, Strategy.

By now, most of you have probably seen the Pillsbury Doughboy featured in a Geico commercial. The ad was part of the Martin Agency’s latest “Happier Than … ” commercial series for Geico. As the story unfolds, the Pillsbury Doughboy attempts to sneak a deadly baking pin through security and a TSA agent tries to check him without tickling him. The marketing message from the Doughboy scene is this … consumers who switch their auto insurance to GEICO will be “happier than the Pillsbury Doughboy on his way to a baking convention.”



Of course,  he does get tickled, and you hear the famous “hoo-hoo-hoo” giggle which is so much part of the brand’s iconic avatar. Interestingly enough, this is not the Doughboy’s first appearance outside of the Pillsbury brand. He was also part of a 2004 “Got Milk” campaign in the ad featured here. In addition, there was also the Mastercard Icons commercial in 2005 – which featured the Green Giant, the Planters Peanut man and a variety of other branded characters.

Beyond the clever, funny and cute elements of the commercial, why is the Pillsbury Doughboy moonlighting in a Geico ad? The ad is highly entertaining and conveys positive emotions for the Pillsbury Doughboy. There are a few other noteworthy lessons in this co-branding case study.

  • Brands can do mashups which will positively convey awareness and brand preference for both. It plays on Geico’s market share goal that switching your insurance (to Geico) will be “happier than the Pillsbury Doughboy on his way to a baking convention.” The question is which brand benefited the most?
  • I can’t be sure of this, but there may be a customer reach opportunity for Geico, by bringing in the Doughboy and its fans to be more closely associated with Geico brand
  • It is a “feel good” campaign, and Geico may benefit from the positive aura it creates. Who likes insurance or thinks switching insurance derives any pleasure?

No doubt the success of the Doughboy in the Geico advertisement will lead to other co-branding mashups. By the way, the Doughboy has his own page at Pillsbury. You can find it here.

What did you think of the advertisement? Please leave me your comments

Reference: Pillsbury Doughboy giggles for GEICO « A Taste of General Mills, http://www.blog.generalmills.com/2013/03/pillsbury-doughboy-giggles-for-geico/


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Vincent Ferraro
Vince Ferraro is a creative general management executive who contributes his world-class, Fortune 100 marketing knowledge to infuse new revenue and market share growth strategies while maintaining profitability. His bold moves, competitive instincts, and experience working on three continents are the perfect match for a Consumer or B2B technology company with global ambitions.

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