The lyrics to Eddie Money's 1977 song "Two Tickets to Paradise" sound a lot like a promo for a Club Med sweepstakes. But it's car-insurance brand Geico that dug up the croon-rocker to star in a new spot, part of a cheeky campaign from The Martin Agency meant to illustrate just how gleeful its rates will make you.
The premise: Money would be happiest running a travel agency, where he could, you know, constantly give out tickets to paradise. You could be even happier than that, thanks to the extra money you'll save by switching to Geico car insurance. The reality: Money nails the washed-up bit perhaps too well, with a crazy-eyed, hoarse-voiced performance that stage-whispers buried sadness as much as it screams joy. Strip away the hey-remember-that-guy joke, and it's just a clever one-liner. Money's character in the ad doesn't really want to be a travel agent. He wants you to sit down and shut up while he sings about taking you (or maybe just his hair) on a romantic island getaway.
Earlier spots in the series do a better job of hitting the right tenor. A bodybuilder wears an unimpeachable grin (and not much else) while directing traffic—a funny and insightful visual gag—and old-timey comedian Gallagher gets credibly giddy while doing his trademark watermelon-smashing thing at a farmer's market. A fourth spot goes a more fantastical route, with an amusing but not quite laugh-out-loud scene imagining Christopher Columbus's cackling reaction to modern nautical technology.
That, along with the other spots, honors Geico's longtime and hard-to-contest position that people like saving money—and quirky, chuckle-worthy ads.
Agency: The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.