I recently had occasion to write a letter to the fine editorial folks at the Bradenton Herald, one of the daily papers here in the Tampa Bay region. It was actually my response to a previously written letter by a guy who is convinced that auto insurance is expensive because of all the advertising Geico places on TV to "trick" the consumer into buying their product. He actually thinks that if Geico and the other insurance companies stopped all this advertising nonsense, then the rates would be cut in half. This, as my Art Director Scott Spear would say, really "got my dander up" and compelled me to write in. The occasion also gave me an opportunity to use a great quote by David Ogilvy.
Here's my response...
The writer completely misses the point. He probably subscribes to the misguided and misinformed theory that advertising is something businesses do when they have “extra money” to spend. I’m not a particularly big fan of geckos, or even cavemen for that matter, but I know that insurance companies, including Geico, spend big dollars on advertising as part of a thing we call healthy competition – the very thing that drives consumer prices down. Yes, the cost of advertising and all other marketing costs is factored into the price consumers pay for the product, just like every other consumer product or service sold throughout the world. Auto insurance high? Yes, but it couldn’t possibly be caused by all those uninsured drivers, car thieves and a flawed “no-fault” system, now could it?
As David Ogilvy said, “Remove advertising, disable a person or firm from proclaiming its wares and their merits, and the whole of society and of the economy is transformed. The enemies of advertising are the enemies of freedom.”