Geico on blind privilege

Even though it’s just intended for humor, Geico is making a point about blind privilege in its Caveman ads.   The commercials are about an imaginary ad campaign in which Geico claims their service is “so easy to use, a caveman could do it”.   But this ad-within-the-ad is seen through the eyes of a Caveman who takes offense at being presented as the minimum standard for intelligence.

In the latest ad that I’ve seen, the Caveman is talking to a therapist.   She asks why the commercial bothers him; after all it’s just a commercial.   He asks how she would feel if the slogan were: “So easy a therapist could do it”.   She says that wouldn’t make sense to her.   He asks why not.   She says, “Because therapists are…” and falters.

“Smart?” the Caveman supplies with a sneer.

That’s just how blind privilege works.   Only in real life, it usually takes a lot more than a parallel example turned on the privileged one to get her to realize the error of her ways.


  1. says

    I’ve only seen the first one (where it ends with the company taking the cavemen to dinner). I actually got the impression from that one that it was jumping on the “let’s mock PC!” bandwagon. But the one with the therapist that you describe seems to tell a different tale.

  2. Jennifer Kesler says

    Oh, I think they’re mocking PC stuff, too. Which is why the therapist ad hits even harder – the other ads feature people failing to understand what this silly caveman is bitching about… and then suddenly the therapist ad says, “Whoops… he may have a point after all.”

    And again, their motive isn’t to advance equality. It’s just funny and memorable, so you’ll think of them next time you decide to get insurance.

    I also wonder if they’re referencing an ad they took off the air a few years ago. It featured a woman playing with a dog. She’s holding the dog up to her face with both hands and kissing it and playing with it. The camera slowly backs away until we see that she’s in the driving seat of a car – not driving! The text was, “She’s out there!” followed by some assurance that this was why you needed Geico. It was HYSTERICAL, and because there was another commercial showing a man doing something stupid while driving, I never considered it sexist. But for some reason, the woman commercial stopped playing abruptly but the man one continued for a while.

    If that ad was removed for alleged sexism, maybe they are making fun of that sort of overreaction in the new ads. But the therapist ad points out how insidious REAL sexism tends to be.

  3. SunlessNick says

    Those ads aren’t showing in the UK, which is a shame, because I like the sound of the therapist one. Plus it bugs me that cavemen (or cavewomen) are synonymised with stupidity – if Stone Age people weren’t as smart as we were, there’d have been no Bronze Age.

  4. Jennifer Kesler says

    That’s very true, LOL. The human race has a lot invested in the idea that it’s more intelligent than any other species, including its own ancestors.

  5. sbg says

    They actually have another ad – kind of a Larry King set-up. One guy in studio, caveman in studio and another “expert” via satellite. They address this, as the person on the feed implies caveman = stupid (as a whoopsie!didIjustsaythat?) and the caveman rebuts with the fire and wheel thing. 😉

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