The AP and the trades are reporting today that the ubiquitous Geico cavemen will star in a pilot for a half-hour sitcom that ABC is considering for its fall 2007 lineup. Talk about product placement!
It's rarely happened before. The scary dancing baby from some dot.com ads a few years ago starred in "Baby Bob" on CBS, but that show disappeared quickly. Baby Bob went back to his original pitching profession, this time for Quiznos.
Geico has spent millions -- actually around $475 million last year alone, according to The Wall Street Journal -- to make the angry cavemen almost as well-known as their little lizard. So unless your brand is spending in the mega-millions, you probably shouldn't get your hopes up for your ad spokeswhatever to have its own series.
But I can see what will happen if the Caveman gets on the air and becomes a hit. In typical copycat fashion, we'll see a surge of advertising characters starring in primetime. We'll finally see a detective series with Ronald McDonald as the gumshoe. How about a heartwarming family series starring cute little Mikey from the old Life cereal commercials, playing a kid battling obesity. Or a docu-drama about global warming, featuring the cheery Sun guy from the Jimmy Dean sausage commercials. Geico may even follow with its own version of BBC World News on PBS, starring the lizard.
I'm sure Madison Avenue can come up with so much more to help make network programming more captivating and more engaging, with ad-pitchpeople we all know and love.
Update March 7: Ann Handley has a post about the cavemen on MPDailyFix. Check it out.