Goobers, Raisinets, and Geico

arm-geico-raisinets-goobers2With the Oscar awards coming up, I wanted to write about how the cinema experience has changed. There are 15,782 screens that now offer 3-D movies. Revenue from 3-D films at the box office reached $1.8 billion in 2014. What hasn’t changed is my passion for the movies and the never-ending previews and ads that take up at least 20 minutes before the film starts. While watching Bradley Cooper in American Sniper this past weekend, I realized that the movies is the one place I couldn’t fast forward either Bradley or the Gecko. The Goobers and Raisinets, I wish, would have been on pause.

I have been an avid movie-goer since I was a young child and saw Vincent Price in “House on Haunted Hill.” I remember when, during the movie, they reeled out a skeleton from behind a curtain and it stopped over my head. Most children would have run out of the theater screaming in horror never to return again. I, on the other hand, was hooked. I love the entire movie theater experience from the drive to my local neighborhood theater to the purchase of popcorn and candy. I sit in the dark waiting with anticipation for the previews to start. Some of my best memories are watching Ryan O’Neal cry over losing Ali McGraw in “Love Story” and Julia Roberts waiting for her prince, Richard Gere, to rescue her from a life on the streets in “Pretty Woman.” With all of my focus directed at any image on the screen in front of me, how could I ever forget the Gecko and GEICO telling me “15 minutes could save me 15%?”

Not only did I see the Lizard while I was eating my Raisinets and butter popcorn, but I was also told I was “In Good Hands” from Allstate. Some people find commercials before the movie starts as an annoying part of going to the theater. I call it good marketing and brand building.

Going to the movies is the #1 leisure activity among adults. These 90 second versions of a commercial, to a captive audience in the cinema, reach more than 1.4 billion movie theater goers annually.

Our research shows that among the top three personal Auto Insurance carriers – Allstate, GEICO, and Progressive, more than 1,500 different direct mail and email communications for new customer acquisition, loyalty, and retention initiatives reached hundreds of millions of consumers in the past year. This does not include the billions of impressions from television, print, online, outdoor media, and your local multiplex.

Driving home after seeing the latest blockbuster, I started to think about the three competitive ads I had just seen. It made me think about my own auto insurance rates and wonder if the advertisers had reached any of the 16% of uninsured drivers who may have been in the movies with me. More importantly, it made me think that with all the new technology being used in cinematography, it won’t be long before we see the Gecko in the seat next to me, eating Goobers.