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Geico’s “False Bonding”

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in Business Management

“False bonding” refers to advertising that seeks to create a bond with the prospect, but does so in an illogical or insincere — and therefore ineffective — way.

A good example is the recent radio spot for Geico offering homeowner’s insurance to people who rent.

It begins (and I am paraphrasing): “We think renters are cool! Why? Maybe it’s all that cool stuff you own….”

The copy then suggests you need to insure your cool possessions with a Geico homeowner policy even if you rent instead of own.

The insincere notion is that “We think renters are cool!” The illogical notion is that renters own stuff that’s cooler than what homeowners own.

Think of the differences between renters and owners. There are many. But does the word “cool” pop into your mind? I didn’t think so.

And it’s stupid to say renters are cool because they own “cool stuff.” They mostly own the same stuff that homeowners do. What renter-specific possession is “cool”?

I would have taken a different tact: “As a renter, you own a lot of valuable stuff. But if it’s stolen or destroyed, who would pay for it? Not your landlord! That’s why you as a tenant need ‘renter’s insurance’ just like homeowners need ‘homeowner’s insurance.’”

Geico’s “cool renters” radio spot is yet another example of how advertising built around an incorrect premise is doomed to fall flat.

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