With the announcement that the Geico Insurance Cavemen are being written into a script for a television series pilot, the issue of branded content again rears its ugly head. Scott G speculates on some of the oddities surrounding this silly side of advertising.

Some people are debating the wisdom of putting commercial characters into programming. Obviously, the folks behind the mildly entertaining Geico Insurance “Caveman” campaign think it’s a splendid idea.

G-Man on and off the wallAnd there is ample precedent for it working very well. In the movies, we have seen “Paper Moon” speak up for bible salesmen. The “Saw” series boosted sales at Ace Hardware. Some people claim that “Passion of the Christ” extolled the virtues of governmental torture policies. And there have been dozens of overpriced, overloud and underthought films created to help market video games and comic books.

As you can tell, I am not a fan of this sort of thing, although I freely admit that you can probably present almost any concept if you do it with enough wit, taste, timing, and style.

For example, consider the following unlikely ideas and their successful realizations: A comedy about patching up wounded during an undeclared war (“MASH”); a long drama about someone not getting around to making a movie (“8-1/2”); a comedy about a bunch of losers sitting around a bar (“Cheers”). All were excellent, despite their subject matter.

As the Geico announcement reveals, there are a great many possibilities as yet untouched. Some suggestions:

The Hands Talk Back
Allstate Insurance “good hands” try to get through life while coping with lots of bad “hand job” jokes and comparisons to “Thing” from the Addams Family.

Hit the Road
Co-sponsored by General Motors and the National Parks Service, this docu-comedy follows families on vacation as they drive merrily across the country to pose in front of landmarks.

Good Neighbors
Feel-nice documentary program about good deeds, good Samaritans, random acts of kindness, etc. Brought to you by State Farm Insurance.

Pun for Your Life
TV version of “Run Lola Run” with contestants racing through US cities making puns about sneaker manufacturers.

Adventures of assembly line workers battling robots in a Toyota factory.

Barbie Becomes. . .
Each week, a Barbie doll replaces someone on the job. Network news anchor, Pussycat Dolls dancer, TV network executive. . . roles requiring no brains or talent.

Fashion Uncovered
“Friends” meets “Queer Eye” starring the Fruit-of-the-Loom bunch.

Who Will Be the Next Britney?
Combining game show stupidity, reality show voyeurism, and moronic phone-in voting, this new show is brought to you (and broadcast) by YouTube.

[tags]G-Man, Gman, gman marketing, Scott G, Communication Nation, advertising, marketing, ad rants[/tags]