By Barry Janoff
February 2, 2013: As one of its umbrella campaigns, Geico insurance has been running a series of spots in which people who save money with the insurance company are happier than ... Eddie Money running a travel agency, a witch in broom factory, a Slinky on a escalator and Gallagher at a farmer's market.
Now add former NBA All-Star and premier shot-blocker Dikembe Mutombo to the mix.
In a new spot, Mutombo is seen in uniform blocking a variety of objects from reaching a basket: A piece of garbage headed for a waist basket, clothes headed for a laundry basket, change being flung into a toll booth basket, a guy throwing a used coffee cup into a kitchen trash basket and groceries being tossed into a shopping basket.
In the final scene, Mutombo breaks the fourth screen by knocking the G in Geico off the closing credits.
The 7'2" Mutumbo played for six NBA teams from 1991-2009, was an eight-time member of the All-Star Team and four-time Defensive Player of the Year. The Geico spot plays off of Mutumbo's greatest strength: blocking shots. Although he could score (11,729 career points) and was mighty off the boards (12,359 career rebounds), he had 3,289 blocked shots, which is still No. 2 all-time (behind Haakeem Olajuwon, 3,830).
He also was known for wagging his finger after blocking a shot — his way of telling opponents, "Not in my house."
In fact, Mutombo uses that line in the opening sequence, in which he is seen in a basketball uniform in an office. As an executive tossed a crumbled piece of paper toward his waist basket, Mutombo swats it away. "Not in my house," he chides, wagging his finger.
Mutombo then moves from scene to scene, swatting away a variety of objects with ever-increasing joy and intensity.
Geico musical spokesmen Jimmy and Ronnie then appear on a faux stage in a supermarket.
"Jimmy, how happy are folks who save hundreds of dollars saving money with Geico?" Ronnie asks his partner. "Happier than Dikembe Mutombo blocking a shot!" replies Jimmy.
Mutombo then comes in and swats the G down as a voiceover explains, "Get happy. Get Geico."
Lead agency is The Martin Agency, Richmond, VA. (See the full spot here.)
Beyond his career as a hoops star, Mutombo has long been involved in humanitarian efforts, including founding the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation to help improve conditions in his native Congo and being a driving force behind the construction and opening of the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital.
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