Editor’s Note: This article is from Insurance Journal’s annual Satire Issue, originally published on Aug. 15, 2011. The article is fictional and is meant to be humorous. Enjoy!
Obsession is more than some Calvin Klein perfume; it’s the root cause of one independent agent’s tragic attempts to terminate the marketing influence of what he calls the “little green monster” (no relation to the famous wall in Fenway Park). The “monster” to this agent (referred to here as Mr. X) is the fictional GEICO Gecko, the brilliantly successful character of endless TV commercials and print ads. However, Mr. X views it as more than a reptilian mascot, he sees it as something real. I was fortunate to learn the details of his saga from Mrs. X who shared it with me as we chatted amicably by a hospital vending machine.
The epic began when Mr. X declared to his wife, while watching a Godzilla movie, that independent agents have to do something to stop the Gecko. He said, “Sure, I can improve my Web site, use social media, send direct mail, and gain a professional designation, but all this stuff requires time and effort. There must be an easier way,” he declared. Then it hit him, like King Kong hit Godzilla, if he could come up with a monster of his own, of like kind and quality, he could conquer the Gecko and strike a victory for independent agents everywhere.
The next day, as Mr. X played golf, he saw an alligator sunning itself near the second hole. “That’s it!” he screamed to his playing partner. “I know how to beat that little green monster. I’ll train this big guy to kill the Gecko. Come on, let’s put it in the cart.” He convinced his partner to help him by letting him grab the tail as he wrapped his arms around the sleeping reptile’s head. The motion startled him awake and he snapped off the agent’s left arm. So much for plan one.
Plan two was a bit harder to initiate, what with only one arm and all, but it was still easier than studying for a CPCU exam. It involved outnumbering the Gecko with a small army of lookalikes that would take the monster prisoner. This strategy seemed safer to Mr. X than the alligator fiasco as his lookalikes would be his own children dressed up in little Gecko costumes. But, he knew from TV commercials, especially the one at the convention where the Gecko had a “Hello My Name Is” ID badge stuck to him, that the reptile was pretty small. So, he told his wife, as she was holding the other end of his submarine sandwich, “Honey, I need to shrink the kids.”
Mrs. X wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of having artificially diminutive children. She told her husband that she was pretty sure that up to a point, they were supposed to grow bigger, not smaller. But in the interest of family harmony, she went along with the plan. Mr. X threw himself headlong into research by renting Rick Moranis’ “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” film. To get a reducing ray of his own, he googled “child shrinking machine” but was thwarted when he only found references back to the movie.
Humbled by failure and to clear his head, Mr. X took his cat for a walk. Then the ultimate plan hit him. Cats are the natural predators of all things gecko. So, he would train his tabby to kill the GEICO mascot. Drills began every morning at 6 a.m., when the cat was taught to pounce on paper images of the Gecko cut out from GEICO newspaper inserts. After six weeks, the cat was ready for the real thing. Unable to locate the real thing, Mr. X decided to rub his big screen 3-D television with tuna juice upon the Gecko’s next TV appearance. He did so, and the well-trained cat viciously attacked, smashing the massive set to the floor, thus ended plan three.
At this point, after suffering from a painful dearth of entertainment, Mr. X checked himself into General Hospital (before it was canceled) and having nothing else to do decided to read all of this author’s back columns in Insurance Journal magazine. He is now well on his way to properly growing his property/casualty agency. As for the Gecko, Mr. X no longer thinks of him as the “little green monster,” just an annoying competitor with a weird British accent.
Shulman, CPCU, is the publisher of Agency Ideas, a subscription-only sales and market-ing newsletter. He is also the author of the many tools posted on the Agency Ideas Instant Download Store. Phone: 800-724-1435. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web site: www.agencyideas.com.