Has Geico Gone too Far?

By Malena Amusa Apr 05, 2007

"Using Geico.com is so easy, a caveman could do it!" is the tag line for Geico’s insurance commercials that have cavemen respond sensitively to the notion that they are dumb, simple creatures. Some say these commercials are allegories for some communities of color. Take a look below, you be the judge. Blogger, Angry Black Woman, thinks Geico is making a mockery of Black people’s struggle to counter-act historical stereotypes about their intelligence.

In the world of the commercials, the cavemen are mostly well-educated, cosmopolitan people–no, no, Men, because we have yet to see a female cave person–who hold jobs and have plenty of money and seem middle or upper class. When they hear the line about ’so easy a caveman could do it’ (or see posters about it) they become offended because the commercial insinuates that they are nothing but stupid, bipedal animals only capable of the simplest of tasks. No matter how they try to address this issue – by talking directly to Geico, by appearing on Bill O’Reilly-type cable news channel shows, or even by going to therapy – the message they get from everyone is that the commercials are valid because, well, cavemen are just simple, stupid bipeds barely above animals. There’s even a commercial where one caveman is disappointed in another caveman for ’selling out’ by getting insurance through Geico. If this isn’t clear to everyone by now, I think the Cavemen are really thinly veiled pastiches of black people! Their skin is even dark (but not too dark or else someone might get offended). They’re seen as simple, stupid creatures. They have a hard time getting white people to understand their feelings about the issue. In the end, the prevailing opinion is that the slogan is fair because the cavemen really are what others think they are, despite the evidence. And, let’s not forget, that the cavemen are really just being oveRinku Sensitive to begin with. If anyone out there doesn’t get how this is exactly the struggle black folks have been having with the white-dominated media since… well, since minstrel shows, let me know. I will school you.

What do you think?