Today’s Lesson: Just because something has survived does not mean it is the fittest.
I have been hearing these commercials for Geico Insurance lately, stating that they have been doing business for 75 years. I thought that was odd because I certainly do not remember their brand name from when I was a child and I am not 75 years old. In fact, I only recently heard of them, within the last 10 years or so, along with most everyone else.
It is true, it turns out, that they technically incorporated a long time ago but only catered to government employees. They say they have even been selling to the public since the mid-seventies. Regardless, most people never heard of them until their famous Cockney-accented Gecko lizard commercials became a hit around 2010.
I was trying to figure what bothers me so much about these commercials, and I think it is a few things…
1. As the inimitable George Carlin has famously said, “old” does not mean “good”. Who cares if they are 10 years old or 1,000 years old? We only care if they deliver a great product at a fair price with decent service.
2. There is something a bit deceptive about trying to leverage your entire history to validate your credibility. My blog has been running something like 7 or 8 years and only about 5 of those years has it had an audience outside of people I have physically met. Nonetheless, I have been writing seriously since I was at least 18. Although it would not technically be a lie, I do not promote myself as a “writer with nearly 30 years of published works”. Most people would only know my work over the last 5 or so years.
3. It is a cop-out for quality. Let the work stand on its own merit. When J.K. Rowling had her first Harry Potter book published, nobody said, “She only has 0 months of screenwriting experience. Let’s not turn this great story into a movie.”
Using established tradition to defend present practices never holds water for me and I think the recent Geico commercials are a variation of that.
Because something has been around a long time is not proof that it is credible or correct. It just means it is old.