Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mixing Business with Politics at GEICO

Well, that didn't take long. I just checked my email, and received this letter from GEICO:

Please include the following line in all replies.
Tracking number: GT20090816_0000000251

GEICO Indemnity Company

August 15, 2009

Dear Soloman:

Thank you, first of all for your business and also for your interest in this matter.

This week we took action to move our marketing messages from the Glenn Beck show and you are wondering why.

Well you deserve an answer.

If the inflammatory nature of the comments on a program overshadows our message and causes GEICO to be drawn into a national debate, we are likely to reconsider where we place our marketing messages, which is what we did.

GEICO delivers very important messages through its major marketing campaigns: we’re saving customers’ dollars, we’re easy to do business with, we’re looking out for our policyholders. That’s what we hope the public hears and sees and focuses on.

As a company, we do not take positions on controversial issues.

As an advertiser, while a national debate on issues can be healthy and appropriate, we don’t see ourselves in the role of taking part in those debates.

Our business is auto insurance. We want to bring people value and we attempt to reach large audiences with that message.

It is of little benefit to us if a program gets so much attention that our message is drowned out.

GEICO Corporate Communications



Now, let me get this straight... please - ANYONE correct me if you think I'm lost here.

They said - and I quote, "As a company, we do not take positions on controversial issues." As an advertiser, while a national debate on issues can be healthy and appropriate, we don’t see ourselves in the role of taking part in those debates. "

Yet they seem to have taken a position on this controversial issue?!?!

"It is of little benefit to us if a program gets so much attention that our message is drowned out."

However.. isn't it of great benefit to you if a program which you sponsor receives great attention???

"Our business is auto insurance. We want to bring people value and we attempt to reach large audiences with that message. "

Again.. what better way to "reach a large audience with that message" than to advertise with the broadcast that has the largest audience. Last I checked, Glenn Beck has the best ratings in Cable News in his time slot...

Looks Like GEICO will be losing a customer...

On a side note... I received auto-replies from Roche and ConAgra as well.

{update 12:25am}

Here is the reply I sent to GEICO:

To whom it may concern;

Your letter to me stated "As a company, we do not take positions on controversial issues"

Honestly, it seems that's exactly what you did. If your business interests were really "We want to bring people value and we attempt to reach large audiences with that message" you would consider the ratings of the Glenn Beck Program and realize that one statement does not an entire program make.

I am very bothered by this decision, especially knowing that a majority owner of GEICO is owner of t
he Berkshire Hathaway Company William Buffet, a large contributor to the DNC and to Barack Obama's Presidential campaign.

As I stated in my original communication, I will be monitoring this situation, and when my policy comes up for renewal I will take this issue into consideration. I also have posted both my letter and your reply letter on a personal blog, and will be communicating with my family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors, asking them to consider this "non-position" GEICO has taken should they decide to shop for insurance of any type.

Sincerely,

Soloman

5 comments:

Hazaa said...

Unbelievable. "We don't take stances on contoversial issues", but they sided with Color of Change.

But be glad you at least got a response. I've written to State Farm and Golden Corral. Nothing yet.

Miss T.C. Shore said...

While I'm not sure I would criticize a company for not wanting to advertise on a show that could be considered "controversial," nothing about Glenn Beck's show has changed recently. The only thing that has changed is the attention given to the health care debate. Thus, it seems logical to conclude that as long as conservatives voices were "inconsequential" to the country's policies GEICO was willing to advertise to Beck's viewers, but when conservative voices start to make a difference, GEICO decides they do not want to support Beck or the Fox Network.

I agree with you. That seems to me to be taking a political position.

Soloman said...

Miss T.C. - I don't watch enough MTV or VH1 to know, but if GEICO advertises on those networks, particularly during some of the sexfest shows like Brett Michaels or the bi-sexual girl or Paris Hilton...

GEICO's decision was quite simply made because while on "Fox and Friends" Beck said that he believes President Obama may have a side of him that is racist, or at least may harbor anger against whites.

Beck has provided plenty of evidence to back his claim, but since the game today is to snip sound bytes and take people out of context, far-lefties like The Huffington Post constantly claim that he's anti-American, a racist, and calling for violence.

Additionally, as I said my posting, GEICO is is wholly owned subsidiary of the Berkshire Hathaway Company, owned by William Buffet, an admitted big money donor to the DNC and Obama's campaign.

Also, GEICO did not pull their ads from FOX, only from Beck, so they've singled him out.

J.P. said...

Thank you for posting this and informing us about what's going on. One reason I chose GEICO was because in the past (2004 election anyway), they were fairly even in their political contributions. As a result of this, I will also be taking my business from GEICO elsewhere. You've done us a great service. Keep up the good work.

Soloman said...

J.P. -

Thank you for stopping by my blog and commenting.

To be fair, I am giving GEICO until my policy expires, which conveniently (?) happens on November 4. Funny - I just realized that is exactly one year from election day..

Anyway - I'm not quitting them instantaneously. I will give them the courtesy of the completion of my agreement with them, and if they change their policy, I won't move my policy to another company.

Of course, the choice is yours how you handle your business with them. If nothing else I would suggest writing them as I did to see if they answer the same or if they're changing their tune.

I appreciate your time and the comment you left, as well as the encouragement to keep up the fight for what is right. I certainly will.