By guest blogger Christine Tasher, public relations
GEICO is celebrating Black History Month through art, news, music and dance during February. Observances vary from location to location, but at its headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland, the opening ceremony featured a diversity choir, 17 voices strong, led by Virgil Crawford, a gifted pianist who performs in the D.C. area when he’s not analyzing systems for the company.
Associates enjoyed a breakfast while listening to such songs as “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” familiar to many GEICO associates who added their voices to the choir’s. The song was penned by James Weldon Johnson in 1900 on the occasion of Lincoln’s birthday.
Each month, we share an image from GEICO’s past and invite you to comment or exercise your caption-writing skills.
We revere Leo Goodwin here at GEICO. He was GEICO’s founder – a man who gave up an executive position at another insurer to launch his own insurance company. Without agents, contrary to what was by far the dominant insurance business model. In the middle of the Great Depression.
Daring, storybook stuff, that. But brilliant and visionary as he was, Goodwin couldn’t have done it alone; he lacked the capital for such a venture. Texas banker Cleaves Rhea actually owned 75 percent of Goodwin’s fledgling company from its inception in 1934 (it didn’t become Government Employees Insurance until 1936) until it was a thriving 13-year-old business. At that point, weary of monthly train trips from Texas to Washington and back, Rhea decided to sell his stake in GEICO.
The two gentlemen pictured here, Ben Graham and Jerry Newman, ran the investment company that bought most of Rhea’s interest in GEICO. They wound up owning 55 percent of the company, which was converted into 175,000 shares of stock and distributed to the approximately 300 shareholders of the Graham-Newman Corporation in 1948.
Graham and Newman joined the GEICO Board of Directors, Graham as chairman. As important as both gentlemen were in GEICO’s development over the ensuing years, Graham contributed to the company’s fortunes in another, perhaps more significant way. In addition to his investment activities, Graham taught investing at Columbia University, where one of his most apt pupils was a young Warren Buffett, who became a legendary investor in his own right, and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.
It was Graham who sparked Buffett’s interest in GEICO, which was the first stock Buffett ever purchased. Buffett subsequently sold those shares, but later bought more – and more and more, until he owned roughly half of the company’s stock. Then, in 1995, he made a very generous offer to buy all the shares he didn’t yet own.
That deal was consummated in early 1996, and GEICO has been a Berkshire Hathaway company ever since. But the long and mutually beneficial relationship between Buffett and GEICO might never have come to pass if not for Ben Graham and Jerry Newman.
You can’t use your grant or scholarship funds to pay your cell phone bill or buy snacks – that’s where GEICO can help. For the past 20 plus years, GEICO has given out $1,000 Achievement Awards to college sophomores and juniors from all across the country. In 2015, we will recognize more than 50 students with $2,500 to cover the cost of books, supplies and personal expenses. This award program is just one of the ways that we help support tomorrow’s future leaders. It’s a long-standing tradition that makes us happier than a camel on hump day.
So, who’s eligible for one of these awards? Well, you could be, if you:
Are currently enrolled full-time in a bachelor’s degree program.
Attain sophomore or junior status.
Have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
Are majoring in business, computer science, mathematics or a related program.
Have demonstrated leadership on campus and/or within the community.
HOW TO APPLY
First, we encourage you to go to our Careers page and learn more about our program at geico.jobs/achievement. There, you can review the step-by-step application guide and read about our past award recipients, including a few who are now GEICO employees. To qualify for a GEICO Achievement Award, you’ll need to submit your resume, a short essay, letter of recommendation and unofficial transcripts in one email, fax or envelope.
Also, there’s a list of participating schools posted at geico.jobs/achievement, but please note that students from anyaccredited four-year college or university are eligible to apply. This year’s recipients will be selected later this spring and notified in June 2015.
No matter where you were on Sunday, Feb. 1, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. ET., a GEICO ad was running somewhere in America on television and online. Super Sunday, arguably the most popular media day for creative advertising in the country, provided GEICO with a unique opportunity to blitz the airwaves and the Internet with one of its most popular television ads.
With former Cincinnati Bengals running back Ickey Woods leading the charge, GEICO was able to make a big splash and raise its brand awareness across a diverse landscape of media platforms to reach millions of households across America.
The media blitz actually began on Thursday, Jan. 29, with two 30-second Ickey Woods commercials (Sandwich & Big Game) running during two nationally televised NBA regular-season games on Turner Sports. On the same day, the Ickey commercials made the spotlight at the Pro Bowl on ESPN and during a women’s college basketball game on Fox Sports 1.
Fourteen Ickey Woods spots were featured on Saturday, Jan. 31, during a full-day lineup of nationally televised NCAA college basketball games on CBS, Fox and Fox Sports 1 and during two English Premier League soccer matches featured on NBC and NBC Sports Network.
And if you were left wanting more Ickey Woods on Super Sunday, GEICO upped the ante with a complete takeover of the airwaves on NBC (home of the big game). The ads featured a multitude of commercials from Ickey, hip-hop legends Salt & Pepa providing people with instructions on how to “Push It,” our favorite gambler Kenny Rogers subconsciously bluffing his poker buddies through song, and of course the loveable GEICO Camels being subjected to people yelling “Hump Day” even though it’s not Wednesday.
In addition to the 22 advertising spots on Super Sunday, 10 spot-market television ads ran in select cities between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., on NBC. The ads featured Ickey’s “One on One” commercial and “Rick” the hilarious scapegoat causing havoc at his place of employment (a peanut butter factory). The spot market ads brought the total number of ads for the day to 32.
With unprecedented broadcast advertising dominating the airwaves, GEICO also hit the Internet with a barrage of Ickey Woods “Reflections” on its YouTube Channel. The company changed its YouTube masthead and banner artwork on its channel homepage to reflect the Ickey Woods advertising campaign.
After this, I would be willing to bet that everyone in the Lower 48, Alaska and Hawaii now know who Ickey Woods is. Now it’s time to get me some cold cuts – wooooooooo!
New Year’s resolutions are slippery promises that test our resolve, but this year GEICO is inspiring associates to keep theirs and live healthy lives. At our office in Macon, Georgia, associates have been tracking their steps using Fitbit devices since October, and they’ve already collectively racked up more than 327 million steps!
With a little healthy competition – pun intended – associates are walking their way to a healthier year. The Macon on the Move program has created a Fitbit fever that has swept the office. As of late December, 877 associates had walked approximately 148,404 miles – almost six times the Earth’s circumference. Way to go, y’all!
Scott Markel, GEICO’s regional vice president of Midwest operations in Macon, has supported the program from the start. These days, many of us sit in front of computers from 9 to 5, so Fitbits are motivating associates to get their legs moving and heart rates up!
Even WGXA Fox24 in Macon stopped by to check out what was happening at GEICO:
What’s helping you keep your New Year’s resolutions? Share your tips in the comments.
Each month, we share an image from GEICO’s past and invite you to exercise your caption-writing skills.
I love this picture. Can you guess why?
Back in the late 1990s (about when this photo was taken), before the Gecko made his debut, GEICO was using an advertising slogan along the lines of “Safety is our only policy.” In fact, the “Buckboard” ad wherein four horse-drawn wagons arrive at an intersection in the middle of nowhere and everyone tries to let everybody else go first is still my mother’s favorite.
The big game Feb. 1 isn’t just about football – not for me, anyway. It’s about football AND making sure your friends and family enjoy their fill of delicious foods that you prepare. If you haven’t nailed down what you’re making yet, I am here to help, with my favorite recipes – guaranteed to please gatherings large or small.
Southwestern Layered Bean Dip – I like to have healthy options available for my family and friends, and this recipe is delicious and healthier than many other foods you’re likely to be served during the game. Here is the recipe, I’m sure you will enjoy it!
Guacamole – This is probably my favorite dip to make, and it’s fun because you can always adjust the mix of ingredients depending on what you like. I personally like to use more cilantro and onion in mine and less tomato, but however you decide to make yours, I’m sure it will turn out great! Here is the recipe that I continue to use and it hasn’t let me down yet.
GEICO is at it again – tooth and paw. The company is sponsoring Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl XI at GEICO Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 1, at 3 p.m. ET.
The Puppy Bowl is the premier sporting event of the year that mimics the Big Game, featuring 85 bodacious and rambunctious pups from shelters across the U.S.
For fans just nipping at the chance to interact with the pups before the big game, Animal Planet has created a unique game day experience that football fans will love, featuring a Puppy Bowl XI Pregame show with analysis and commentary and a Puppy Bowl XI Starting Lineup where fans can get to know the game faces of the canine competitors on each team. And of course you’ll be able to pick your Puppy Bowl XI fantasy team, choosing the pups you think will chew up the opposition during the game.
When sports rivalries come to mind, Red Sox/Yankees and Redskins/Cowboys have nothing on Puppy Bowl XI, which for the first time features teams Team Ruff against Team Fluff. With everything that’s on the line, this one will be for barking rights.
At the halftime of Puppy Bowl XI, pet lovers will be in for a special treat as Animal Planet brings the one and only “Katty Furry” from her busy tour schedule to perform her hit “I Hissed (at) a Girl.” Will her ex-husband Russell Terrier Brand be in attendance? You’ll have to tune in to find out. The halftime show will also feature hamsters flying a biplane for the best aerial view.
What is a football game without cheerleaders? This year, a handful of goat cheerleaders will perform their unique routine, in exchange for which they will be richly rewarded – Animal Planet allows the goats to graze outside of GEICO Stadium as payment.
At the end of Puppy Bowl XI, fans will also have a chance to follow up on some of their favorite puppy players in a segment titled Adoption Tails. Who doesn’t love a happy ending?