Holiday Campaign Interview: Lighten Up For The Holidays

"Our task was to create a campaign that communicates how GEICO gives you more than just savings on car insurance."



In a few words, tell us about your role in the creation of "Lighten Up for the Holidays"


Neel: My title is VP / Creative Director, but I am the copywriter on this campaign as well.

Justin: I’m a VP / Creative Director as well and acted as art director on the campaign.
What was the original brief for this campaign?
Neel: The original brief was pretty straightforward. GEICO has excellent awareness for saving people money on car insurance. That simple message works for a lot of consumers, but some folks need more info. Our task was to create a campaign that communicates how GEICO gives you more than just savings on car insurance.
What inspired you to approach the campaign this way?
Neel: We kept coming back to the simple, visual nature of this campaign. It’s engaging, memorable and the visual comedy helps reinforce the message. Whether or not you remember individual RTBs, you’re left with the idea that GEICO gives you more. When it came time to pick a director, we knew we had to work with Harold Einstein. He really excels at comedic dialogue with visual repetition. Harold brings so much to the table on every spot and “Lighten Up” was no exception—from details like the camera whip pan on the opening shot to the interesting dynamic between the neighbors.
How difficult was it to sell the idea to GEICO?
Justin: It actually wasn’t a very tough sell at all since the entire spot is so heavily RTB-focused. We’ve found in the past and certainly with this campaign, that when you embrace the RTBs and incorporate the comedy in to them as you go, instead of separating everything out, it often makes both the comedy and messages stronger. So, everyone’s happy.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during the process?
Justin: To keep pushing to find the little details in props/set design, camera moves and performances from the actors to help such a simple construct feel nuanced and layered at the same time. Like Neel said, Harold has always been great at leading that charge and is also surrounded by a great crew to help pull it off.
What did you learn from the experience?
Justin: Rhythm was so important in this spot as well as the others in this campaign. Harold was so great about timing everything out ahead of time which made for an easier edit.
What do you think the advertising industry's New Year’s resolution should be?
Neel: Keep it simple.
What is your favorite holiday campaign of all time?
Neel: I’ve always loved the Harvey Nichols “Sorry I spent it on myself” campaign. It’s a little dark and also hits a nerve. What a great twist on the usual sappy holiday fare.