June 10, 2007

Consistency matters

Something has been bothering me for a long time.

You know those Geico caveman ads that made fun of caveman, that Geico is so easy even a caveman can do it?

Yeah, those.

They are all silly fun and whatnot, but as someone with a background in design, one of the ads had been excruciating.

In one of the ads, the said-caveman is looking at a poster of a caveman in an airport, and he said on his cell phone, "Seriously, 4 feet by 5 feet... well apparently not, because I am looking right at it."

It cuts to the said-poster between lines.

The thing is, the poster is no way 4x5 feet. It's wayyyy wider than its height. 4x5 feet is a very short rectangle. The poster, assuming height being 4 feet, the width is about twice its height, so, say, 7 feet.

I understand to many it's a completely petty, if not laughable, matter.

But consistency is an extremely important element in visual communication. How could the editor and art director missed this mistake? Visually, the poster doesn't look anywhere close to a 4x5 feet.

Most likely they took the shot of the poster from another caveman ad. Either the script was messed up, or they assumed the first poster they shot was close to 4x5 feet, and it was too late to change.

For the life of me I can't find the exact video on youtube, but I found another Geico caveman ad that has the same poster, if you take a look at this video, pause it, and measure the height against width, you would conclude that it's no way 4x5 feet:

See what I mean? This completely inconsistent ad is being ran all over the USA, with a caveman claiming a poster is 4x5, when in fact, it's more like 4x7 feet, if not longer. Every time it comes on the TV, it bugs me to no end.

If you are an architect, imagine walking into a room where one door frame is lopsided. Or a photographer, seeing a zoom lens while the label claims it's a fixed focal lens. Or if "your" an English major... well.



  1. OMG!!!! I thought that too... Glad to see I'm not the only one whose obsessive compulsive.

  2. Urgh, no kidding, you would expect the people who spent all these money making the ads would watch it over and over again to hammer out the inconsistencies. I don't mind terrible ads making mistakes, and I am sure Geico is not the biggest giant out there, but if they are clever enough to come up with such a campaign, they should follow through!!

  3. Hey! Where did you guys see that commercial?? On TV? I only saw the other version (the 1 with no dialogue)...


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